The legislative branch is one of the three branches of the United States federal government, as falls under the system of checks and balances. It is bicameral, or split into two separate assemblies, these being the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Both assemblies, taken together, are the United States Congress, and their job is to propose and pass the laws which are then executed by the President and presided over by the courts. However, the House and Senate can be very different, especially in composition, and the criteria for members to achieve the office.
The House of Representative is more numerous, with 435 members currently, serving two-year terms with no term limits. Each of these members represents one congressional district. The districts are determined based on US population, so states which are more populous have more representatives in the House. However, each state has at least one. Adding to their number is one resident commissioner and five delegates. These represent US territories like Guam and Puerto Rico, but do not vote.
The Senate is made up of 100 senators-two from each state. In this case the states' population doesn't matter. Each of them serves a six-year-long term.
In both the House and Senate, members are elected within their respective states, and have various age and citizenship requirements they must meet to be eligible.
Both the House and Senate pass laws, but may have different roles in the process. For instance, it's the Senate's job to approve any officials nominated by the President for his Cabinet, whereas the House is responsible for putting forward any laws which pertain to generating revenue.
Both chambers of Congress must approve laws in order for them to be put into practice. If both the House and Senate approve a law, then the President can veto it. Even if he does, the law can be voted on again by the House and Senate, and if there is a two-thirds majority in both, the president's veto is nullified. This is all in accordance with checks and balances.
Congress arguably has the most powers in the US federal government. It regulates the value of money, allocates funds for the construction of infrastructure like roads, collects taxes, issues patents, rules on the shape and nature of the army and navy, impeaches officials, and declares war.
However, its powers are not limitless... not only are they checked by the other two branches of government, the judicial and executive, but are also limited by the Constitution. For instance, Congress cannot grant any titles of nobility, can't tax exports from states, and has to regularly publish a statement about how it's spending public money.
Sometimes, the Congress has drawn fire for being too passive, and too divided, resulting in Congressional gridlock, which is the term used when decisions take an extended period of time to be made. It is up to the other branches to decide how to handle this issue, without stepping out of Constitutional bounds themselves.
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