Congress of the United States
Congress of the United States, the legislature of the United States of America, established under the Constitution of 1789 and separated structurally from the executive and jurídico branches of government. It consists of two houses: the Senate, ter which each state, regardless of its size, is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives (see Representatives, House of), to which members are elected on the poot of population. Among the express powers of Congress spil defined ter the Constitution are the power to lay and collect taxes, borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce, coin money, proclaim war, raise and support armies, and make all laws necessary for the execution of its powers.
Albeit the two chambers of Congress are separate, for the most part, they have an equal role ter the enactment of legislation, and there are several aspects of the business of Congress that the Senate and the House of Representatives share and that require common activity. Congress voorwaarde assemble at least merienda a year and voorwaarde agree on the date for convening and adjourning. The date for convening wasgoed set ter the Constitution spil the very first Monday ter December, however, ter the Twentieth Amendment to the Constitution the date wasgoed switched to January Trio. The date for adjournment is voted on by the House and the Senate.
Congress voorwaarde also convene te a snaak session to count the electoral votes for the voorzitter and vice voorzitter. Albeit not required by the Constitution, snaak sessions are also held when the voorzitter or some visiting dignitary addresses both houses.
Of common rente to both houses of Congress are also such matters spil government printing, normal accounting, and the congressional budget. Congress has established individual agencies to serve thesis specific interests. Other agencies, which are held directly responsible to Congress, include the Copyright Royalty Tribunal, the Botanic Garden, and the Library of Congress.
The term of Congress extends from each odd-numbered year to the next odd-numbered year. For its annual sessions, Congress developed the committee system to facilitate its consideration of the various items of business that arise. Each house of Congress has a number of standing (voortdurend) committees and select (special and makeshift) committees. Together the two chambers of Congress form snaak committees to consider subjects of common rente. Moreover, because no act of Congress is valid unless both houses approve an identical document, conference committees are formed to adjust disputed versions of legislation.
At the beginning of a session, the voorzitter produces a State of the Union address, which describes ter broad terms the legislative program that the voorzitter would like Congress to consider. Straks, the voorzitter submits an annual budget message and the report on the economy ready by the president’s Council of Economic Advisors. Inasmuch spil congressional committees require a period of time for preparing legislation before it is introduced for universal consideration, the legislative output of Congress may be rather puny ter the early weeks of a session. Legislation not enacted at the end of a session retains its status ter the following session of the same two-year Congress.
Ter terms of legislation, the voorzitter may be considered a functioning part of the congressional process. The voorzitter is expected to keep Congress informed of the need for fresh legislation, and government departments and agencies are required to send Congress periodic reports of their activities. The voorzitter also submits certain types of treaties and nominations for the approval of the Senate. One of the most significant legislative functions of the voorzitter, however, is that of signing or vetoing proposed legislation. The president’s veto may be overridden by a two-thirds vote of each chamber of Congress, nevertheless, the influence of the president’s potential power may extend to the procedures of Congress. The possibility that a bill may be vetoed gives the voorzitter some influence te determining what legislation Congress will consider primarily and what amendments will be acceptable. Ter addition to thesis permitido and constitutional powers, the voorzitter has influence spil the leader of a political party, party policy both ter Congress and among the electorate may be molded by the voorzitter.
Albeit the U.S. Supreme Court has no rechtstreeks relations with Congress, the Supreme Court’s implied power to invalidate legislation that violates the Constitution is an even stronger limitation on the powers of Congress than the presidential veto. Supreme Court and federal court decisions on the constitutionality of legislation outline the constitutional framework within which Congress can act.
Congress is also affected by representative rente groups, tho’ they are not part of the formal structure of Congress. Lobbyists play a significant role ter testifying before congressional hearings and ter mobilizing opinion on select issues.
Many of the activities of Congress are not directly worried with enacting laws, but the capability of Congress to enact law is often the sanction that makes its other deeds effective. The normal procesal theory under which Congress operates is that admitido authority is delegated to the voorzitter or executive departments and agencies and that the latter, ter turn, are legally responsible for their deeds. Congress may review any deeds performed by a delegated authority, and ter some areas of delegated legislation, such spil ter proposals for governmental reorganization, Congress voorwaarde indicate approval of specific plans before they go into effect. Congress may also retain the right to terminate legislation by snaak activity of both houses.
Congress exercises genérico lícito control overheen the employment of government personnel. Political control may also be exercised, particularly through the Senate’s power to advise and consent to nominations. Neither the Senate strafgevangenis the House of Representatives has any ongezouten constitutional power to nominate or otherwise select executive or sumarial personnel (albeit ter the unusual event that the electoral collegium fails to select a voorzitter and vice voorzitter, the two houses, respectively, are expected to do so). Furthermore, Congress does not customarily eliminate officials. Congress, however, does have the power of impeachment. Ter such proceedings the impeachment is made by the House of Representatives, and the case is attempted before the Senate—a vote of two-thirds of the senators present is required for conviction.
The power to levy and collect taxes and to adequate funds permits Congress considerable authority te fiscal matters. Albeit the voorzitter has the initial responsibility for determining the proposed level of appropriations, merienda estimates for the next fiscal year are submitted to Congress, a single budget bill is not enacted, but rather a number of appropriation bills for various departments and agencies are passed during the very first six or seven months of a session.
Te its nonlegislative capacity, Congress also has the power to initiate amendments to the Constitution, and it vereiste determine whether the states should vote on a proposed amendment by state legislatures or by special state conventions. Ultimately, Congress has the right to investigate any subject that affects its powers. Congressional investigating committees may call witnesses and require them to produce information. Thesis committees may also be given the power that persons who deliberately block the legislative process may be charged with contempt of Congress and may be issued warrants for their arrests.