Legislative Branch

Ameen Zubi 9/20/09 College Business Law Mr. Silberman The legislative branch of the federal government, which is the congress, consists of two houses. Which are the Senate and the House of Representatives. Congress power’s that is allowed under the Constitution are to levy taxes, borrow money, regulate interstate commerce, impeach and convict the president, declare war, discipline its own membership, and determine its rules of procedure.

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Revenue Bill’s, which must commence in the House of Representatives, or legislative bills may come from either house. Although they must pass both houses and be signed by the president to become an amendment or a law. Although, the president may veto a bill, but a veto can be overridden by a two-thirds vote of both houses. The House of representative may impeach a president or any other official of the government by the vote of the majority. But the trials of impeached officials are administer by the Senate, and for the official to be impeached two-thirds majority is needed.

Congress is assisted in its duties by the General Accounting Office (GAO), which examines all federal receipts. The House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members, divided among the 50 states in proportion by their total population. The House of Representatives is chosen by the direct vote of the body of voters in single-member districts in each state. Congress can also investigate pressing national issues and it is charged with supervising and providing a balance for the executive and judicial branches as well.

It has the authority to declare war; it has the power to coin money and is charged with regulating interstate and foreign commerce and trade. Congress also is responsible for maintaining the military, though the president serves as its commander in chief. The speaker of the House, who is chosen by the majority party, administer over debate, appoints members of select and conference committees, and performs other important duties. He is third in the line of presidential succession.

Each state elects two senators at large. Senators must be at least 30 years old, residents of the state from which they are elected, and previously citizens of the United States for at least nine years. They serve six-year terms, which are arranged so that one-third of the Senate is elected every two years. Senators also are not subject to term limits. The vice president serves as president of the Senate. Per Article I of the Constitution, the legislative branch is charged with making laws for the United States.

The library of Congress, the Government Printing Office, Congressional Budget Office, and the General Accounting Office provide support services for the Congress. These agencies are also considered part of the legislative branch. Members of Congress are now elected by a direct vote of the people from the state that they represent. This is not the way it had always been. Senators were chosen by their state legislatures before 1913 and the 17th Amendment to the Constitution. The Speaker of the House, elected by the epresentatives, is considered the head of the House. Both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives elect leaders. The leader of the party that controls the house is called the majority leader. The other party leader is called the minority leader. The legislative branch is also called the lawmaking branch. Before the advent of legislatures, the law was dictated by monarchs. A legislature is a type of deliberative assembly with the power to pass, amend and repeal laws. This system provides checks and balances within the legislative branch.

Only after much debate did the Founding Fathers agree on the creation of the House of Representatives and the Senate. A major issue was how representation in the legislative body would be determined. Representative to the Constitutional Convention from larger and more populated states argued for the Virginia Plan that called for congressional representation should be based on a state’s population. Fearing domination, representative from smaller states were just as firm for equal representation and supported the New Jersey Plan.

Roger Sherman, a delegate from Connecticut, proposed the bicameral legislature. The Great Compromise, among other supplies, resulted in the creation of two houses, with representation based on population in one and with equal representation in the other. Members of Congress are now elected by a direct vote of the people of the state they represent. It has not always been this way for the Senate. Prior to 1913 and the 17th Amendment to the Constitution, Senators were chosen by their state legislatures because the Senate was viewed as representative of state governments, not of the people.

It was the responsibility of Senators to ensure that their state was treated equally in legislation. Agencies that provide support services for the Congress are also part of the legislative branch. These include the Government Printing Office, the Library of Congress, the Congressional Budget Office, the Government Accountability Office, and the Architect of the Capitol. The primary duty of Congress is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the president for approval.

Other congressional duties include investigating pressing national issues and supervising the executive and judicial branches. In addition to the power described above, Congress shares powers with the president in matters such as, framing U. S. foreign policy and control over the military. For example, while the president negotiates treaties, they are only put into effect once the Senate approves them. Also, while Congress can declare war and approve funds for the military, the president is the commander-in-chief of the military.

The legislative branch of the federal government helps to keep the government in line. It is one of the branches that has powers in government to “check and balance” for not one branch including the legislative to have to much power in government. So each branch get specific powers they have to follow and which the other branches have to confirm or veto. The most important thing about the legislative branch is that it has the ability to enact or change laws and the ability to declare war.

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