US Congress – Democracy in action or is it?
United States 2022 Midterm Elections
Nancy Pelosi stands down as leader of the US House Democrats Nancy Pelosi, who has led Democrats in the US House of Representatives for almost two decades, has announced she is standing down from the role. She is the most powerful Democrat in Congress and the first woman to serve as speaker of the House. Pelosi, 82, will continue to represent her California district in
US midterms 2022: Republicans narrowly win the House The Republican party has secured the 218 seats needed for the majority in the House of Representatives – a week after the midterm elections, CBS News projects. The GOP was expected to win back the lower chamber of Congress, but it was expected they would win with a much bigger margin. The party’s margin in the House
Congress is like the UK Parliament – with the House of Representatives similar to the House of Commons in the UK; it’s the lower house of Parliament. And the Senate, on the other hand, is like the House of Lords – the upper house.
- The polls have started to open in the US at 05:00 EST (10:00 GMT)
- Midterm elections decide who controls US Congress
- Both the House and the Senate are controlled by Democrats at the moment
- Republicans are predicted to take the House, whilst the Senate is too close to call
- Losing either chamber would be a blow for President Biden
- Americans are also electing 36 state governors
What is Congress?
What is the US Congress?
The US Congress is the legislative arm of the federal government of the United States. It is composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the United States Capitol city in Washington DC.
What is the role of Congress?
The US Senate
Member Requirements and Term Specifications
The United States Senate is comprised of 100 members, two from every state, who are elected for a six-year term. Senators are separated into three different classes, with each class coming up for election every two years. They have no term limits imposed on them and can serve as many terms as they wish if they can keep getting reelected by voters.
Senators must be at least 30 years of age, a citizen of the United States for at least nine years, and a resident of the state they seek to represent.
They are authorized to receive compensation for their services paid out of the treasury of the United States.
They are prohibited from being appointed to any civil office whose position was created or whose compensation was increased during their term of service.
The US Constitution originally stipulated that the state legislature elected senators. As a result, they were essentially an indirect choice of the citizens of their state, which would directly vote for the state legislature. However, the Seventeenth Amendment, proposed in 1911 and passed in 1913, changed the election of senators to a direct vote of the people.
Senate Powers and functions
The Senate is responsible for approving all governmental appointments by the president, including Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, ministers, and other civil officials.
No specific baseline level of support is mentioned for approving these appointments, implying that a simple majority vote is required, or in the case of a 50-50 tie, the vice president casting the deciding vote.
House of Representatives
Member Requirements and Term Specifications
The United States House of Representatives is comprised of 435 members, apportioned by a state’s population, who are elected for a two-year term to represent a congressional district.
Members of the House are all part of the same class and come up for re-election every two years. They have no term limits imposed on them and can serve as many terms as they desire if they can continually be elected by voters.
House members must be at least 25 years of age, a citizen of the United States for seven years, and a resident of the state they seek to represent.
They are authorized to receive compensation for their services paid out of the treasury of the United States. As with members of the Senate, they are prohibited from being appointed to any civil office whose position was created or whose compensation was increased during their term of service.
While senators were originally chosen by the state legislature, apart from a direct vote, House members have always been elected by a direct vote.
Although the House is generally considered to possess less authority, power, and prestige than the Senate, the speaker of the House of Representatives is by far the most powerful position in the United States Congress, third in line to the presidency if needed.
It is also the only governmental body to draft legislation regarding taxation or revenue.
House of Representatives – Powers and Responsibilities
The House of Representatives is not involved in the advisement or approval process for any Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, ministers, or other civil officials.
It does not have a presiding officer apart from the body itself to cast a deciding vote in the case of a tie since tie votes would rarely occur.
The House can overturn a president’s veto in conjunction with the Senate if two-thirds of members from both houses vote to do so.
Congress government shutdown
In the US Congress government shutdown occurs when there is a failure to enact funding legislation to finance the government for its next fiscal year or a temporary funding measure.
Ever since a 1980 interpretation of the 1884 Antideficiency Act, a “lapse of appropriation” due to a political impasse on proposed appropriation bills.
As a consequence of the impasse, the US federal government must enable a government shutdown.
It must curtail agency activities and services, close down all non-essential operations, furlough non-essential workers, and only retain essential employees in departments covering the safety of human life or protection of property.
It is often a very politically motivated and often manipulating agreement and often entails hundreds of backroom agreements to keep the government open. It is often how the US Congress bends the government to its will.
Latest news from Congress
How COngress works
A short guide to how the United States COngress works, and some of the roles and responsibilities of each House.