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US Congress Facts

US Congress Facts for kids
This article contains interesting US
Congress facts. The legislative branch of the United States government is called Congress.

Summary & Definition of the US Congress: What is the US Congress?
What is the US Congress? Summary and Definition: The US Congress is the legislative branch of the federal (national) government, instituted in 1789 by Article 1 of the Constitution of the United States, the Supreme Law of the land. The legislative branch of government makes the laws and has the power to pass, amend and repeal laws. The US Congress is composed of two houses called the House of Representatives and the Senate who prepare legislation via various committees for Congress.

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US Congress Facts for kids: FAQ's
There are several FAQ's (frequently asked questions) asked about the US Congress and these are a good place to start when detailing quick and interesting facts about this important subject:

Questions about the US Congress

Answers about the US Congress

When was the US Congress established?

It was established established under the Constitution of 1789

What are the two parts of the US Congress?

The two parts are the Senate and the House of Representatives

What are the powers of the US Congress?

The powers granted by the Constitution. Enumerated powers, or the expressed powers, are powers the Constitution explicitly grants to Congress, including the power to levy taxes and declare war

What are the Implied powers of the US Congress?

Article I, Section 8, Clause 18 of the Constitution, or the elastic clause, gives extra powers

Where does the US Congress meet?

It meets in the Capitol  building in Washington, D.C.

Why is US Congress bicameral?

It is bicameral because the Senate and the House of Representatives must jointly decide to exercise the powers granted to Congress.

When does the US Congress meet?

The Constitution requires an annual meeting which, since the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1933, begins on January 3 each year.

US Congress Facts for kids: How the US Congress Works
The following facts and information provides a quick overview of how this branch of the US government works.

How the US Congress works

US Congress: Legislative Branch
The US Congress is part of the Legislative Branch of Government which has the power to make the laws and has the power to pass, repeal (cancel) and amend laws as defined in Article I of the Constitution.

US Congress: Legislative Branch
These duties are carried out by the Congress, a bicameral (two-tier) organization that consists of members elected by the people and is divided into the Senate and the House of Representatives.
The US Capitol building houses the Congress in Washington D.C.

US Congress: The Committees
The Senate and the House of Representatives prepare and consider legislation via  standing committees, conference committees, special committees and joint committees with bicameral membership. The most important responsibility of Congress is making the laws of the United States.

United States Constitution

US Capitol Building

The US Capitol

Legislative Branch of Government
House of Representatives and the Senate

US Congress Facts for kids
Interesting US Congress Facts for kids are detailed below. The history of US Congress is told in a factual sequence consisting of a series of short facts providing a simple method of relating the role and duties of the US Congress.

US Congress Facts for kids

US Congressional Fact 1: The legislative branch of the United States government is called Congress and is responsible for creating laws, controlling finances and the declaration of war

US Congressional Fact 2: Congress represents the people of the United States and the role of congressmen is to serve their constituents who give their opinions to their representatives

US Congressional Fact 3: The Lower House and the Upper House: It is divided into two chambers: The Senate and the House of Representatives who work in parallel.

US Congressional Fact 4: The upper house is another name for the Senate and the lower house is another name for the House of Representatives. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 Representatives and 100 Senators

US Congressional Fact 5: Bicameral Structure of Congress: The House of Representatives is larger -  each state has a number of representatives proportional to its population. There are 435 members elected from throughout the country. The Senate is smaller having 100 members - each state has two senators.

US Congressional Fact 6: The Constitution requires a census to be taken every 10 years. If a state's population increases, that state's number of representatives can increase too.

US Congressional Fact 7: Senators serve six year terms and Representatives serve two year terms

US Congressional Fact 8: Congressional Elections: There are 3 types of congressional elections that are called primary elections, general elections and special elections

US Congressional Fact 9: Qualifications: The qualifications and eligibility are that all members must be state residents. Minimum Length of Citizenship in the House of Representatives is 7 years and the minimum age is 25 years old .  Minimum Length of Citizenship in the Senate is 9 years and the minimum age is 30 years old

US Congressional Fact 10: Limits on terms in office: Members can be re-elected as many times as the people wish. Every two years, voters elect all of the members of the House and one-third of the Senate

US Congressional Fact 11: Congressional Record: The proceedings of each house are recorded in the Congressional Record

US Congressional Fact 12: The Legislative Process: Only a Congressional member may introduce a bill. Bills referred to an appropriate committee. If the committee approves a bill, the bill is sent on to the Senate or the full House which then debates and votes on the bill. If the bill is passed it goes to the President who signs the bill into law.

US Congressional Fact 13: The Legislative Process, Making Bills into law: The official legislative duty of the President of the United States is to sign, or veto (refuse), bills passed by Congress. When the President signs a bill, it becomes law.

US Congressional Fact 14: The Legislative Process, the President's Veto: If a bill is vetoed (refused) by the President, it goes back to Congress, who can override the veto with a two-thirds vote in both houses.

US Congressional Fact 15: The Supreme Court has the power to overturn a law that they believe is unconstitutional.

US Congressional Fact 16: The Budget: Congress has the "power of the purse" and must approve all government spending and appropriate the amount of money to be spent, called Appropriation Bills

US Congressional Fact 17: The Staff System: Congress operates by employing a large number of people, called staffers, who provide research, analysis and clerical assistance to members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.

US Congressional Fact 18: The two houses have an equal voice in legislation but both the Senate and the House of Representatives have unique powers

US Congressional Fact 19: Unique Powers: Revenue bills (tax bills) and the power to Impeach a federal official must originate in the House of Representatives

US Congressional Fact 20: Unique Powers: The Senate has the power to try impeached government officials and to ratify treaties

US Congressional Fact 21: Limits on Powers: Article I, Section 9, of the Constitution places three important limits on the powers of Congress.

US Congressional Fact 22: Limits: It cannot pass pass bills of attainder, which punish individuals outside of the court system

US Congressional Fact 23: Limits: It cannot pass ex post facto laws, which outlaw acts after they have already been committed

US Congressional Fact 24: Limits: It can only suspend the writ of habeas corpus during times of national emergency

US Congressional Fact 25: The American political system has evolved into a two-party system, who dominate American politics

US Congressional Fact 26: The dominant political parties in the United States are the Democratic Political Party and the Republican Political Party

US Congressional Fact 27: Caucuses: At the start of each congressional session, the political parties meet in a caucus, which means an informal meeting of people with common interests. The Caucuses are important when formulating bills and rallying support

US Congressional Fact 28: Congressional Pork: "Pork" is a term used to describe government appointments, funds or benefits dispensed or legislated by politicians to gain favor with their constituents

US Congressional Fact 29: Whips: Whips exist in both the Senate and the House of Representatives for each political party. The Whips make sure that legislators are present for important votes and for ensuring that important votes have the desired outcome for their party on major issues

US Congressional Fact 30: Whips: There are the Majority and Minority Whips depending on which party has the most legislators

US Congress Facts for kids

US Congress Facts for kids
The US Congress Facts for kids provides a fast overview of important information about the US Government. The following Presidents of the USA video provides a useful educational resource for kids, children and schools.

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