Video:Legislative Branch of the United States Governmentwith Robert Longley
Learning about the legislative branch of the United States government can help you to understand the laws that are passed and how the system works.See Transcript
Transcript:Legislative Branch of the United States Government
Information About the Legislative BranchIn the United States, the power to make laws is given to Congress, which represents the legislative branch of government. The legislative branch is one of three branches of the U.S. government and is the one charged with creating the laws that hold our society together.
Who Makes Up the Legislative Branch?There are two disparate chambers of Congress. The Senate has 100 members, with each state allowed two representatives, regardless of size or population. The House of Representatives currently has 435 members, with each state's representation dependent upon its population. Each member of the House represents a specific geographic district within the state, while senators represent their whole state.
Function of the Legislative BranchThe primary function of the legislative bodies (or the Senate and the House of Representatives) is to write, debate and pass bills and to send them on to the president for his approval or veto.If the president gives his approval to a bill, it immediately becomes law. However, if the president vetoes the bill, Congress may override the presidential veto with a two-thirds majority in both houses. 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; in addition, 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. Each house of the Congress has some specific duties as well. The House can initiate laws that require people to pay taxes and can decide whether public officials should be tried if accused of a crime. Representatives are elected to two-year terms.
The Senate can confirm or reject any treaties the president establishes with other nations and is also responsible for confirming presidential appointments of Cabinet members, federal judges and foreign ambassadors. The Senate also tries any federal official accused of a crime after the House votes to impeach that official. Senators are elected to six-year terms.
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