© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
Legislative Branch (Congress)

Legislative Branch (Congress)

 Table of Contents

Legislative Branch (Congress) Concepts

The big picture: What you need to know and why.

What is Congress?

Congress is one of three equal branches of governmentLegislative branch makes laws, executive implements enforces them, judicial branch interprets them Congress makes the laws. If you only know one...

Bicameral Structure of Congress

Congress has two chambers: Senate and House of RepresentativesSenate is smaller; each state has two senatorsHouse is larger; each state has a number of representatives proportional to its populatio...

House of Representatives

House consists of 435 members, all serving two-year termsFounding Fathers intended House of Representatives to be very responsive to shifts in the public moodBut gerrymandering has created many "sa...

Senate

Senate is smaller and more prestigious than the House, with 100 members serving six-year termsSenate rules and tradition put no time limit on debate; Senate calls itself "the world's greatest delib...

Powers of Congress

Congress has several types of powersExpressed powers: explicitly listed in ConstitutionImplied powers: not listed in Constitution, but "necessary and proper" to exercise the expressed powers that a...

Expressed Powers of Congress

Article I, Section 8 of Constitution lists 27 expressed powers of CongressInclude power to declare war, levy taxes, regulate commerce and currency The 27 expressed powers of Congress listed in Arti...

Implied Powers of Congress

The "Elastic Clause" of the Constitution grants Congress power to pass unspecified laws "necessary and proper" for the exercise of its expressed powersImplied powers have often been controversialOv...

Strict Constructionism vs. Broad Constructionism

Strict constructionists: Congress should be allowed to exercise very few implied powers so that government will remain smallBroad constructionists: Congress should be allowed to exercise many impli...

Inherent Powers of Congress

Powers said to be inherent to the idea of governmentInclude power to control national borders, acquire new territories, defend the state from revolution Beyond the expressed and implied powers of C...

Non-Legislative Functions

Non-legislative functions are powers and responsibilities not related to passing lawsInclude impeachment power, confirmation power, investigative power As if the expressed, implied, and inherent po...
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement