As the government’s function begins with the drafting, subsequent enforcement, and application of laws. the Legislative Branch may be regarded as the most important among other governmental bodies. Established by Article I of the Constitution of the United States, it is responsible for the creation, development, and modification of the country’s laws and the regulation of the citizens’ rights and responsibilities (The White House, n.d.). The Legislative Branch consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives that together form the Congress of the United States (The White House, n.d.). The Constitution bestows upon Congress substantial investigative powers, the sole authority to declare war and enact legislation, and the exclusive right either to confirm or reject multiple Presidential appointments (The White House, n.d.). In addition, the Legislative Branch administers the state budget and controls the public treasury’s revenues and expenditures, approves the country’s plans for social and economic development, declares amnesties, and may propose reforms and amendments to the Constitution.
Congress has an exclusive power to initiate the investigation of national issues. For instance, in 1973, Congress’s Watergate investigation related to burglary ultimately ended Richard Nixon’s presidency (Trethan, 2020). In 1987, Congress revealed the secret arms sales of the Executive Branch to Iran and the arms profits’ diversion to anti-government forces in Nicaragua (“The oversight powers of Congress,” n.d.). Another investigation in 1996 and 1997 revealed the cases of mismanagement and abuse in the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) (“The oversight powers of Congress,” n.d.).
The Senate, a part of the Legislative Branch, is composed of 100 senators, and every state regardless of its population is represented by two senators (The White House, n.d.). They were initially chosen by state legislatures until the 17th Amendment’s ratification in 1913, and in the present day, senators are elected by every state’s popular vote to six-year terms (The White House, n.d.). As the terms of senators are generally staggered, the Senate’s one-third is traditionally reelected every two years. In order to run for the office of a senator, a candidate should be a resident of a represented state, a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and no less than 30 years of age (The White House, n.d.). In addition, the United States Vice President serves as the Senate’s President as well.
In turn, the House of Representatives is composed of 435 members elected every two years, and every state is represented by a number of members according to its population (The White House, n.d.). Moreover, there are additional six non-voting members that represent the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the District of Columbia, and other territories (The White House, n.d.). In order to be eligible, members should be residents of represented states, United States citizens for at least seven years, and no less than 25 years of age.
The bill’s introduction to Congress is the legislative process’s first step. After the introduction, it is addressed to the appropriate subcommittee for review. In general, there are 23 House committees, with 104 subcommittees, and 17 Senate committees, with 70 subcommittees (The White House, n.d.). A subcommittee may reject a bill, however, in the case of approval, it is referred to a committee that may reject or approve it as well investigating the bill’s profits and drawbacks. Subsequently, the bill approved by a committee should pass both houses of Congress to be approved by the President and become a low or rejected and sent back to Congress for review.
Trethan, P. (2020). The powers of Congress. ThoughtCo. Web.
The oversight powers of Congress. (n.d.). Web.
The White House. (n.d.). Our government: The Legislative Branch. Web.