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US Congress

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Joseph Davis

on 5 August 2013

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Transcript of US Congress

The US Congress
The US House of
Representatives is the lower
house of the US Congress. It
has 435 voting delegates
apportioned to the US states
based on the US Census and 6
non-voting delegates allotted
to all 6 US territories and the
District of Columbia.

The US house buildings sit on
the South side of the US
Capitol, better known as
Capitol Hill.

The leader of the House is the Speaker of the House of Representatives. S/he is elected by the House, and often, if not exclusively, is from the party in power in the House.
Currently, Rep. John Boehner is the Speaker.
The House of Representatives
Congressional Support Agencies
The US Congress has created several agencies that help its members and their staffs to carry out the duties of Congress. These agencies answer directly to Congress. They are: Congressional Budget Office (CBO), Congressional Research Service (CRO), General Accountability Office (GAO), and the Technology Assessment Office (OTA). The Library of Congress (pictured here), is the first support agency for Congress created in 1800, and it now answers inquiries via the CRS.
The US Senate is the upper house of the US Congress. It has 100 representatives, called Senators, allotted equally to all US states. They serve for a period of six years, 1/3 of the body is re-elected every 2nd year.

The leader of the Senate is the Vice President of the US, or the President of the Senate. In his absence the highest ranking Senator, currently Patrick Leahy, is President pro Tempore.
The Senate
How is legislation created in Congress?
When a legislator, a citizen, an organization, or the President's Office decides to make a law, they must first write a draft of this law and submit it to the US Congress. Once a draft has been created, once it is in Congress it is called a bill. It is dispatched to a committee that has the relevant authority over the topic the bill addresses. Once in committee, it is sent to a subcommittee of that committee. It is debated there, amended, and then voted on. Once it passes this step it goes through the same procedure in the committee, and then is sent to the many body, either the US House or the Senate. It must be placed "on the docket" of legislation to be debated in the house of Congress it originates from. Once the bill passes the House or the Senate, it is then sent to be approved in the opposite house.

Once the bill has been passed by both the House and the Senate, it must be signed by the President to become law. The President has two options, he can either sign or he can veto the bill. If he signs it then the bill becomes an Act of Congress. If he vetoes it, then it is sent back to Congress.
Committees and Subcommittees
Just as in the Hungarian Parliament, Congress has committees in each house that deal with particular issues, such as the Committee for Transportation and Infrastructure or the Committee for Appropriations. These committees have purview over legislation and oversight that happen in their field.

Within each committee there are subcommittees that further divide the areas of purview of a committee, such as Subcommittees on Aviation and Water Resources and Environment in the Committee For Transportation and Infrastructure.

When legislation is first introduced to Congress as a bill, it is assigned a committee and then a subcommittee to allow proper analysis of the legislation before going to a vote.
In the District
Congress members maintain offices in their districts, whether it be Senate or House of Representatives. Their offices conduct outreach to constituents, plan district meetings, and handle complaints or problems that constituents might have with the US Government.

Our elected representatives are public figures, and they spend a lot of time interacting with their constituencies.
Congress: The Basics
Congress is the legislative body of the US federal government. It is allotted for in Article 1 of the US Constitution.
Congress has 535 voting members and 6 non-voting members.
Congress has the sole power to declare war, print money, tax, provide for a budget, and impeach.
Representative Charlie Rangel of New York
Apotheosis of George Washington, US Capitol Dome
Old Senate Chambers, US Capitol Building
Chambers of the US House of Representatives, US Capitol Building
US Political Parties
Democratic Party
Republican Party
The system of political parties in the Us goes back to just after President Washington left office. Since then, we have had 2 dominate parties in US politics. They are the Democratic and Republican Parties.
The US Electoral College
Full transcript