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3.0 Introduction

The opening words of Article I of the Constitution states:

"All legislative power herein granted shall be vested in a Congress."

Congress was thus established as the central organ in the national government. It was vested with supreme authority. As Earnest Griffith puts it, Congress is still regarded by many as "the world’s best hope of representative government."

The Congress of the United States in the bicameral legislative branch of the nation. It consists of two branches: the Senate, and the House of Representatives. The composition of the Senate is fixed by the Constitution. It is composed of 100 members; two senators from each of the 50 states. The term of senators is six years; one-third of them retiring every two years. The composition of the House is determined by statute. It is composed of 435 members divided among the states according to population. The term of representatives is two years.

The idea behind having the voters directly elect the members of the House for a short term, was that it could cater to the immediate concerns of the people. In contrast to this, the Senate was chosen to be a reflective body that would consider the interests of the people in the longer term. Until 1913, senators were chosen by the state legislatures. But then according to the Seventeenth Amendment, the senators were chosen by direct election.

Exhibit 3.1
The Capitol


3.0 Introduction
3.1 Powers of Congress

3.2 The Organization of Congress
3.3 How a Bill becomes a Law

Chapter 4

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