Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of government is responsible for making laws, (including initiating spending bills), declaring war, stuff like that.  CONGRESS is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives.


SENATE (Choose two…)

There are 100 senators, two elected from each state, who serve overlapping six year terms.  There are no limits to the number of terms a Senate member can serve.  The Vice President is the President of the Senate although s/he only votes to break a tie, which has occurred 244 times throughout US history.  The number of people each Senator represents depends upon the size of the state from which they were elected.


HOUSE (Choose one…)

Inexplicably, the House of Representatives is fixed at 435.  In 1911, when the US had a population of around 90 million, Congress passed a bill cementing this number in law.  Now the US has a population over twice that size and each House member is responsible for representing the wishes, needs and welfare of an average of 700,000 people.  When Congress was just a puppy, back in the 1800s, the average was 30,000.

The 435 representatives are divvied up between the 50 states by population size.   With a population of 38 million, California has 53 seats in the House while Wyoming has only one for its 583,000 denizens.  Is this fair?  The Sentient Citizen can’t judge.  Theoretically, California should have a huge influence on how Congress is run.  That’s IF all 53 reps are clamoring for the same things to meet the needs of their constituents.  On the other hand, Congressman Cynthia Lummis (Wyo) only has to make a mere half million people happy!  Delaware is at the other end of this conundrum with sole representative, Congressman John Carney, accountable to 900,000 people!

Congress members are elected to two year terms.  There are no limits to the number of terms a Congress member can serve.


Reapportionment of these 435 seats happens every ten years and is based on the information gathered through the United States CensusIf you want additional representation in Congress, make sure you are counted!



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