Congress of the United States

The Congress is the legislature of the United States of America , its seat is the Capitol in Washington, DC . It consists of a total of 435 deputies and 100 senators.

The Congress consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives together, the current is the 113th Congress, under Article I, paragraph 1 of the Constitution , the legislative power is held, so far as the federal level is responsible.

The Senate consists of 100 senators. Each state sent, regardless of population, has two senators. These are directly elected for six years by the voters of their state since 1913. By 1913, they were sent by the parliaments of each state to Washington. Every two years one third of the senators to vote.

The House of Representatives consists of 435 directly elected and voting members. [2] The number of representatives who sends a federal state, is determined by its population. Every ten years there is a census held after reassigning the individual states, the number of seats in parliament. Today comes to approximately 700,000 inhabitants one representative, but each state is at least one representative. The legislature is two years.

The President of the United States has no right to attend meetings of the Congress, so no seat is provided for him. Once a year he speaks to MPs when he talks about the “state of the nation” ( State of the Union reported). To gather in the House of Representatives, the entire Congress, where the president is out. Immediately after his speech, he leaves the Capitol again, without that MPs have the opportunity to ask questions.

The main tasks of the congress can be reduced to three points:

Budget law (power of the purse)
Control of the executive branch , including the President and the intelligence agencies (government oversight)

→ Main article: legislative process of the United States

In the Congress introduced bills to be separated discussed and voted by the committees of the Senate and House of Representatives. If the resolutions are different, is an adaptation of the Conference Committee , a sort of mediation committee instead. This committee is not a permanent body, but is for disputed bills every time appointed. The President must sign laws so that they can enter into force. The President can only be controlled through legislation and limited in its power. The War Powers Resolution is this an instructive case because under the Constitution, the President is indeed supreme commander of the armed forces, but only Congress can declare war.

The powers of Congress are defined in Article 1 of the Constitution (Article 1 of 8 in particular, section). These responsibilities were expanded when the constitutional amendments as a result of the American Civil War ( 13th , 14th and 15th Amendment to the Constitution , the Congress mandate the right to implement the relevant provisions included in the accessories) and 16 Amendment to the Constitution , the federal income tax controls, entered into force.

Other sections of the Constitution – in particular Article 1, Section 9, and the first ten constitutional amendments (commonly known as Bill of Rights known) – curtail the power of Congress.

The general responsibilities of the Congress include:

All laws that are necessary for implementing the Constitution and attached
Call the militia to support the laws, suppression of lawlessness and defense against invasions
Issue, Valuing and protecting the currency
Immigration – and naturalization laws
Determination of jurisdiction under the Supreme Court
Laws for the seat of government
Laws on weights and measures
Laws to regulate trade between the states and other countries
Establishment of post offices and post roads Construction of
Bankruptcy laws
Declarations of war
Patent – and copyright laws
Regulations in connection with the Indians
Tax collection and collection
Criminal law for pirates
Maintenance of an army and navy

Some of these responsibilities are now obsolete, but remain in force.

The Tenth Amendment limits the powers of Congress, making it clear that areas of law that have not been delegated to the federal government remain with the people and the states.

The Constitution also prohibits certain laws. These include:

The repeal of habeas corpus
The conviction of individuals without trial
Laws, the acts that were committed before the entry into force of a law, commit a criminal offense in retrospect
Collection of direct taxes, without regard to the census. Repealed by 16 Amendment
Collection of export taxes
Preference of trading ports of a State over other
Awarding of peerages

The Congress also has exclusive jurisdiction in the impeachment of federal officials.
Budget Law

By the Constitution to Congress is explicitly the allocation of the budget reserved, so ultimately the political priorities are set. The budget and impoundment control act of 1974 has completed the previously common practice of bypassing the budget law by non-shared output means. By this Act, the President is obliged to be available to Congress to answer questions if he does not want to spend approved funds. By a two-thirds majority of Congress can enforce its will.
Control of the executive

The control of the executive is probably the most time-consuming task of Congress. On the one hand, the Congress through legislation, as are eg the War Powers Resolution or the budget and impoundment control act this task, on the other hand through committees, may interrogate the politicians of the executive. It is possible that each committee may convert to a committee. The establishment of special committees of inquiry is also possible. Investigation committees are similar ways dishes they have available. You may summon and interrogate witnesses, require the production of documents by the authorities and impose penalties for contempt of Congress for refusal statement. The President and his staff in the Executive Office of the Congress does not have access due to the executive privilege. In order to ensure the optimal control, the Congress has set up parallel to the Executive its own administrative apparatus, which includes scientific services and investigating authorities. This includes the Government Accountability Office , which monitors the budget and its compliance.

Ethnic minorities

Ben Nighthorse Campbell (Colorado, Senator 1993-2005, Cheyenne ) and Tom Cole (Oklahoma, currently the only indigenous member of Congress, Chickasaw ) are the only indigenous American people who have been elected (2008) to Congress. 2008, the journalist came Mary Kim Titla for Congressional District 1 in the state of Arizona as the first indigenous American woman. [3] There, the indigenous American population is only since 1948 (in the U.S. overall since 1924) the right to vote, but the number of in the registered voter lists indigenous American people still very low. [4]

Shirley Chisholm of New York in 1969 was the first black woman (cf. African American ) who was elected to Congress, succeeded in 1989 this is the first Latin American woman ( hispanic ) Ileana Ros-Lehtinen from Cuba to Florida .

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