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Everything you need to know about the Legislative Branch

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Title: Everything you need to know about the Legislative Branch


1
Everything you need to know about the Legislative
Branch
  • Requirements and Duties

2
Legislative BranchCongress
  • House of Representatives
  • 435 members
  • Bigger states (by population) more
    representatives
  • Each Rep. elected for 2 years
  • So, every representative runs for reelection
    every 2 years

Re-elect me in 2012 and 2014 and.. 2016..and 2018
3
Congress House of Reps Senate
  • House of Reps Requirements
  • 25 years old
  • Live in the state they wish to be elected from
  • Citizen of the US for 7 years

4
Legislative BranchCongress
  • Senate
  • 100 members
  • 2 from each state
  • MA Senator John Kerry (Democrat) and Scott Brown
    (Republican)
  • 6 year term
  • So, every two years, 1/3 of the Senate runs for
    re-election.

Elected 2008
Elected 2010
Elected 2006
Running for reelection in 2012
5
Senate Requirements
  • Senate
  • Must be 30 years old
  • Citizen of US for 9 years
  • Be from that state

Senator Kerry- up for reelection in 2014
Senator Brown- Up for reelection in 2012
6
Issues to ponder
  • Why didnt the founders make more requirements
    for such important jobs?
  • Why did they make the age/citizenship
    requirements higher for the Senate?
  • How would the nation be different if there were
    more requirements?

7
The big job is making laws
  • Both House of Representatives and Senate can
    propose laws
  • A proposed law is called a bill
  • Proposals must be passed in both the Senate and
    House before going to President

8
What power does Congress have?What types of laws
can Congress suggest?
  • Article I, Section 8 gives the best summary of
    the powers
  • To provide for general welfare
  • To borrow money
  • To make rules about Commerce (trade) with foreign
    Nations, and among the several States, and with
    the Indian Tribes
  • To establish a rules for citizenship
  • To make laws on the subject of Bankruptcies
    throughout the United States
  • To coin Money

9
What power does Congress have?What types of laws
can Congress suggest?
  • To promote the Progress of Science and useful
    Arts, by allowing for patents
  • To create Post Offices
  • To create courts other than the Supreme Court
  • To define and punish Piracies and Crimes
    committed on the high Seas
  • To declare War

10
What power does Congress have?What types of laws
can Congress suggest?
  • To raise and support Armies, but money given for
    military use can only be used two years at a time
  • To provide and maintain a Navy
  • To call forth the Militia to carry out the Laws
    of the US, to put down rebellions and r
    Invasions
  • To set the rules for whatever District as may
    become the home of the Government of the United
    States (Washington D.C.)

11
Can Congress make laws about issues/ powers not
specifically mentioned in the Constitution?
  • Can Congress set rules
  • about telephone or internet companies?
  • about health insurance?
  • setting up Military Academies such as West Point
    to train members of the military?
  • requiring a minimum wage?

12
Answer Yes (on most)
  • Last Sentence of Article I, Section 8 is called
    the necessary and proper clause
  • Also called Elastic Clause---Why?
  • Congress shall make any laws necessary and
    proper to carry out the powers described above
  • What it means, part I If Congress says a law is
    needed to help them do their job (like raise and
    support armies), it can propose that law EVEN if
    that power/item is not listed in Constitution.
  • EX Military academies help the armies be ready

13
Answer Yes (on most)
  • Last Sentence of Article I, Section 8 is called
    the necessary and proper clause
  • Also called Elastic Clause---Why?
  • Congress shall make any laws necessary and
    proper to carry out the powers described above
  • What it means, part II If Congress can say a
    power/law they are seeking is basically the same
    as/ modern version of power listed, they can have
    it
  • EX Creating rules for internet and phone usages
    is really about communicationsame way that post
    office was in 1700s.

14
What are pros and cons of Elastic Clause?
Ouchmaybe He has too much power?
Like Congress, I have the power to stretch the
Constitution to fit new situations.
15
Do Senate and House have exact same jobs?
  • 90 same, but each has a few unique powers
  • Proposals about budget spending must start in the
    House of Representatives
  • Senators have the power to accept or reject
    Treaties the President has negotiated
  • Senators accept/reject candidates President
    chooses to be on Supreme Court, cabinet, or
    ambassadors.

16
Do Senate and House have exact same jobs?
  • Impeachment Accusing an elected official with a
    high crimes ( major law break)
  • House gets to decide whether to impeach an
    official (formally charge him/her with the law
    breaking)
  • Senate is the jury when someone is impeached
  • If someone is found guilty, they are kicked out
    of office.

17
Misc. Facts
  • Congress has to meet in formal session at least
    once a year
  • Congress has to keep a record of the votes on
    proposals as well as summaries of debates on
    proposals
  • Congress CANNOT require someone to be put in jail
    without being told the reason (habeus corpus)
  • Congress CANNOT punish someone do breaking a law
    if the action happened before the law was passed
    (ex post facto laws)
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