This is a supercategory for categories as well as articles relating to the Congress of the United States.

The US Congress's composition and role in government are defined in the first article of the United States Constitution. It consists of two Houses, the Senate and House of Representatives. Every state is entitled to two seats in the Senate, and House seats (currently 435) are distributed among states in proportion (though every state, no matter how small, will have at least one House seat) to their share of the national population, as determined by a national census conducted every ten years. The House also seats non-voting observers elected from US territories and the District of Columbia.

The presiding officer of the US Senate is the Vice President of the United States, who is also the tie-breaker in the event of a tie vote on the Senate floor. In practice, the Vice President rarely attends Senate sessions. In his absence, the senior Senator of the majority party acts as presiding officer, but more often presidential duties are rotated among a number of Senators. The presiding officer of the House of Representatives is the Speaker of the House, who is selected by the members of the House. In practice, the Speaker is usually the leader of the majority party's caucus. It is constitutionally permitted for the House to select anyone to fill the Speaker's seat, but in practice they have never chosen anyone who was not a Representative.

Congressional elections are held in every even-numbered year. All members of the House of Representatives, who are elected with two-year terms, face election in every election year. Senators are elected to six-year terms, so only one-third of incumbent senators face election in any given cycle. Senate seats are staggered into three classes, with a state ordinarily not having both its seats in the same class.

The procedure for filling vacancies in a state's delegation to either House is at the discretion of that state. The most common procedure is to fill the seat with an interim gubernatorial appointment to represent the state until a special election can be held. This special election can be no later than the next scheduled Congressional election day.

The Congress is the main component of the legislative branch of the Federal government. One reading of the Constitution suggests that Congress is meant to take the lead in the Federal government, with responsibility for writing all laws (subject to Presidential veto, though supermajorities of both Houses can override a veto), for ratifying treaties, for declaring war, for writing the budget, for setting tax policy, for "advis[ing] and consent[ing]" to Presidential appointments to fill spots in the Executive and Judicial branches, and, perhaps most importantly, for authorizing all withdrawals from the Federal treasury. The Congress is also given the authority to try and impeach officers of the federal government who have committed "high crimes and misdemeanors" (which the Constitution does not define) meaning that, in effect, the Congress can remove from office any member of the Executive or Judicial branches of government, including the President of the United States or the Chief Justice of the United States. Finally, the Congress is the place where amendments to the US Constitution would ordinarily begin, and is the only element of the Federal government which has a role in the amendment process.

In practice, however, the trend in American political history has been for the Congress to take on a subordinate role to the Executive Branch.


This category has the following 7 subcategories, out of 7 total.

Pages in category "United States Congress"

The following 5 pages are in this category, out of 5 total.

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