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The Legislative Branch - Middle School Level

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Jan Leisher

on 20 January 2011

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Transcript of The Legislative Branch - Middle School Level

The Seven Articles of the Constitution
Is #1 ALWAYS most important?
Let's look at the Constitution and see what it says.
Article I says...
There shall be a congress
It shall have two chambers:
House of Representatives
What else?
It says congress will make the laws!
Article I says...
who serves
how many serve
the requirements for serving
the powers of the branch
What powers does congress have?
To lay and collect taxes
To borrow money on the credit of the U.S.
To regulate commerce with foreign nations
To coin money
To declare war
To raise and support armies
These are the EXPRESSED or ENUMERATED powers.
That's an IMPLIED power.
There's "the necessary and proper" clause
Finally, there are concurrent powers.
They are powers shared with states.
So, you want to be in congress!
To be in the House of Representatives:
Age: 25
Live in the state you represent
Now, you want to be a senator!
To be in the Senate, you must be:
Age 30
A citizen
Be from the state that elected you
How long do representatives and senators serve?
House: 2 years
Senate: 6 years
(a third elected every 2 years)
How Many Men and Women Serve in Congress?
That's 2 from each state, right?
How come 435?
This number was set in 1911. The Constitution had originally said ONE representative per 30,000 citizens but that had to be changed. Can you imagine a congress with 3,000 members?
Talk about

The Constitution
The Constitution says the country must be counted every 10 years so congressional representation can be changed when population shifts.
So, let's recap:
Article 1 - Legislative or Congress
535 members
100 in Senate
435 in House
House of Representatives or Senate?
The number of members in the House depend on the state's population.
What kind of power does Congress have?
535 total, right?
And that's about it!
A What ?
Most people think it means that congress can do whatever it has to do to uphold the Constitution!
So, no one is really sure what the powers are?
Congress gets to IMPEACH.
Can you give me an example I can understand?
Impeach means "to accuse" a government official of wrongdoing.
Only two presidents have been impeached, but neither were CONVICTED of any crimes that were considered "high crimes and misdemeanors."
What's a high crime and misdemeanor?
That's the problem.
No one agrees on exactly what constitutes a crime that warrants being removed from office.
Everyone agrees on treason, but that's about it.
So, remember congress is often called the government's "pursestrings."
It controls the money!
There are some other powers that hardly ever get used.
What's treason?
The crime of betraying one's country, esp. by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government
And, now that REALLY is it...
for now.

It stretches!
Can I serve as long as I want?
Are there term limits?
Sometimes, states gain
representatives and sometimes they lose them.
Implied - not really stated but suggested
sort of..
Think of the Constitution like a rubber band.
Expressed or enumerated
Local, state, and
national governments can build roads!
for example...
Full transcript