13.1 Structure of Congress and Distribution of Powers Flashcards Preview

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1

The Senate

The Senate has 100 members called Senators
There are 2 Senators per state, totalling 100.

There is a term length of 6 years with 1/3 of Senators up for election every 2 years.

Senior figures are the President of the Senate who is the Vice President (currently Mike Pence), the Majority Leader (currently Mitch McConnell) and the Minority Leader (currently Chuck Schumer)

Before the 2018 midterms, there were 51 Republicans, 47 Democrats, and 2 Independents.

2

The House of Representatives

The House has 435 members called Congressmen/Congresswomen.

A Congressperson represents districts based on population size. The smallest number of Congresspeople per state is 1 (for example Alaska), the largest is currently California with 53.

Members are elected every 2 years - in Presidential election years, and two years after those (known as ‘midterms’).

Senior figures are the Speaker (currently Nancy Pelosi), the Majority Leader (currently Steny Hoyer) and the Minority Leader (currently Kevin McCarthy).

3

Membership of the House

Members of the House must be at least 25 years old and have been a citizen for at least the past seven years.

There are 435 voting members and six non-voting members.

The non-voting members are representatives for Puerto Rico, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, the District of Columbia, the US Virgin Islands and Guam.

These members can sit in committees and introduce legislation.

4

Membership of the Senate

Members of the Senate must be at least 30 years old and have been a citizen for at least the last nine years.

There are 100 Members of the Senate.

Members of both houses must live in the state that they wish to represent at the time of the election.

5

Concurrent powers

Congress is given all legislative powers by Article I of the Constitution.

Article II gives them the power to overturn a presidential veto with a 2/3 vote in both chambers.

They are also given the power to amend the constitution (Article V), a power which is shared with the states, and the power to declare war (Article I).

Both houses are given the power to determine their own rules, punish their members and expel a member with two-thirds vote (Article I)

These powers are given to both chambers.

6

Exclusive powers of the House

The House has the exclusive power to impeach; this means to bring charges against a politician or public official who they believe have committed ‘high crimes and misdemeanours’, not to remove someone from office.

The House has the power of the purse - the power to begin all money bills.

The House has the power to elect the president if no one candidate receives more than 50% of the electoral college votes (this has happened in 1800 and 1824).

7

Exclusive powers of the Senate

The Senate has the exclusive power to try an impeachment case with a 2/3 vote in the Senate required to remove someone from office. (Article I, Section 3)

The Senate has the power to elect the Vice President if no one has more than 50% of the electoral college votes.

The Senate has the power to confirm executive appointments (such as cabinet members and federal judges), given by Article 2 of the Constitution.

The Senate has the power to ratify treaties with a 2/3 vote.

8

Exclusive power: filibuster

The Senate has the power to filibuster a bill, which is not a power specified in the constitution.

This is when Senators keep talking to make a bill run out of time and stop a vote from happening.

The rules of the Senate allows a senator to speak for as long as they want to on any topic unless 3/5 senators vote to end the filibuster.