United States House of Representatives
One of the two major halves of the legislative branch of the United States government. It has 435 voting members, with each state having a number of members proportional to its percentage of the national population, with a minimum of one. (The apportionment is recalculated after ever decennial census.) The District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and American Samoa are also represented in the House by non-voting Members.
Congress was established by Article I of the Constitution. Section 2 of this article covers specifics of this house, while the rest of the article describes processes and rules of both the House and the Senate.
- Section. 2.
- The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the Qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature.
- No Person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the Age of twenty five Years, and been seven Years a Citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an Inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
- Representatives and direct Taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to their respective Numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the
wholeNumber of freePersons, including those bound to Service for a Term of Years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other Persons(Striken portion superceded by the Ammendedment XIV). The actual Enumeration shall be made within three Years after the first Meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent Term of ten Years, in such Manner as they shall by Law direct. The Number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty Thousand, but each State shall have at Least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New Hampshire shall be entitled to chuse three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North Carolina five, South Carolina five, and Georgia three.
- When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive Authority thereof shall issue Writs of Election to fill such Vacancies.
- The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other Officers; and shall have the sole Power of Impeachment.
In Modern Clear English
Members of the House are elected in even-numbered years to two-year terms, though special elections may be held at other times to fill a vacancy in the case of a member's resignation, death, or removal from office. At the beginning of each Congress (two-year block, split into 1st and 2nd sessions), the members elect a Speaker of the House, usually from the party holding the most seats. Each party also choose various leadership posts: majority or minority leaders, whips, regional whips, etc. The House leadership also makes committee assignments at the beginning of each Congress, including chair assignments. Usually the chair of a committee will come from the majority party, and membership percentages in committees more-or-less follow those in the main body.
The following is a list of the House leadership of the (current) 110th Congress:
|Speaker of the House||Nancy Pelosi||Democrat||CA-08|
|Majority Leader||Steny Hoyer||Democrat||MD-5|
|Minority Leader||John Boehner||Republican||OH-08|
|Majority Whip||Jim Clyburn||Democrat||SC-6|
|Minority Whip||Roy Blunt||Republican||MO-7|
Current House Members
In rough order of power, and thus desirablility by members:
- House Committee on Rules - This is an arm of the majority party caucus that imposes rules that facilitate implementation of party goals.
- House Committee on Agriculture
- House Committee on Appropriations
- House Committee on Armed Services
- House Committee on the Budget
- House Committee on Education and the Workforce
- House Committee on Energy and Commerce
- House Committee on Ways and Means
- House Committee on Financial Services
- House Committee on Government Reform
- House Committee on House Administration
- House Committee on International Relations
- House Committee on the Judiciary
- House Committee on Resources
- House Committee on Science
- House Committee on Small Business
- House Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
- House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
- House Committee on Veterans Affairs
- Joint Economic Committee
- Joint Committee on Printing
- Joint Committee on Taxation
- House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
- Bipartisan Committee to Investigate Hurricane Katrina
Representatives also form caucuses based on their membership in certain groups or affiliation with certain causes. These caucuses attempt to ensure that their members vote alike on certain measures of importance to those groups and/or advocate for certain groups and issues. Of primary importance are the party caucuses (the Democratic Caucus and the Republican "Conference"), which attempt to keep the members of each party "in line," the Congressional Black Caucus, the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
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