United States Congress
|The United States Congress|
|Capitol Building, Washington D.C.|
|Current Congress:||110th Congress|
|List of United States Congresses|
The United States Congress is the legislative branch of the United States government, sometimes called simply the legislature. Its overall responsibility involves passing (and repealing) laws and deciding the federal budget.
Congress is a bicameral legislature, meaning that it has two components: the House of Representatives and the Senate. This arrangement was introduced to satisfy the concerns of the states — each state has two (and always two) Senators, while the House of Representatives is filled according to the population of each state. Senators are elected every six years (the two Senate seats in each state are elected in different years), Representatives are elected every two years. Neither office is subject to term limits. Both houses must approve pending legislation for it to pass — and then the President plays his role.
The Constitution lays out the powers of the Congress in Article I. They have the plenary power to carry out these functions and no others. However, using the interstate commerce power, Congress has basically escaped these Constitutional limits, though the Supreme Court has recently checked this advance.
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The current Congress is the 110th United States Congress and is the present session of the Legislature of the United States federal government. It first convened on January 4, 2007 and expires on January 3, 2009. Of the 435 members of the House of Representatives, 433 were elected in the November 2006 House elections, and two were elected in December 2006 runoffs. United States Senators are elected in staggered terms: 33 of the 100 from class I were elected in the November 2006 Senate elections. The remainder were elected in 2002 Senate elections (class II) and 2004 Senate elections (class III).
- See 110th United States Congress for information about the current Congress.
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- The House of Representatives
- The Senate
- Recent bills introduced in Congress
- Historical composition of Congress
- Contact information
- Executive Branch
- Judicial Branch
- Legislative Branch
- United States Congress
- Passing legislation
- U.S. elections