ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Role of Congress

Updated on February 13, 2013
The Seal of Congress.
The Seal of Congress. | Source

By Joan Whetzel

The Legislative Branch of Government is made up of both Houses of Government – The House of Representatives and the Senate. The members of both Houses are elected by popular vote. The Congress makes up an important part of the System of Checks and Balances that was put into place by the US Constitution. The First Article of the Constitution describes the role of the Congress and its duties.

What Is the Congress?

The Congress charged with the duties of raising revenue, declaring war, and creating and passing laws. The Congress also has power over financial and budget policies, the power to levy and collect taxes, duties, excises, and the authority to pay the nation’s debts. If the President vetoes any of these laws, a reason must be provided. The Congress then must make the requested changes and send the laws back to the President or vote to override the Presidential Veto.

Article I of the US Constitution establishes the parameters for both Houses of Congress. The Senate is made up of 100 Senators – 2 from each State – 1/3 of which is elected every 2 years for a total term of 6 years. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members, the number from each State, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and 4 other US Territories depends on the population of each. So a State’s representation could vary from one year to the next if there is a significant enough change in population. Representatives are elected every 2 years, to fill a 2 year term.

The Senate

The Senate is made up of 2 Senators from each State for a total of 100 Senators. In cases where voting would end up in a tie, the Vice President casts the deciding vote. Voting in most cases requires only a simple majority vote (51 votes) to pass a law. In the case of ratifying an amendment or accepting a new State into the Union, a 2/3 majority is required. The Senate is charged with the sole authority to approve or deny appointments to the Cabinet, to approve or deny a replacement for the Vice Presidency, and approve or deny any treaties that involve foreign trade.

According to the Constitution, to be elected Senator, the person must be at least 30 years old and be a US Citizen for at least 9 years before being elected. The Senator must also be a resident of the State from which he or she is elected.

The House of Representatives

There are 435 members of Congress divided amount the 50 States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and 4 US Territories. The Speaker of the House (the leader of the party that holds the majority of the seats in the House) presides over the House of Representatives and is next in line for succession to the Presidency, after the Vice President. Representatives, who are elected every 2 years, must be at least 25 years old, be citizens of the US for a minimum of 7 years, and be residents of the State they represent. The House of Representatives is charged with initiating bills for revenue, impeaching federal officials, and electing the President in cases where there is a tie in the electoral college.


Wikipedia. The United States Congress.

The Center on Congress at Indiana University. The Role of Congress in American Society.

The United States Senate. Constitution of the United States.

The White House. The Legislative Branch.

Facts of Congress - THe House of Representatives

Facts of Congress - The Senate


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • joanwz profile imageAUTHOR

      Joan Whetzel 

      5 years ago from Katy, Texas

      Yeah, that is debatable. They haven't been very effectiv in recent years. And the Checks and balances thing seems to be ignored of late.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 

      5 years ago from Southern California

      The real question is how effective is the congress and is it still a check and balance of the three branches of the US government.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)