1
   

Please explain USA politics

 
 
kev
 
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:37 am
Please explain how this works:

1. House of representatives
2. congress
3. Senate

In ABC language please I don't have a clue

Thank you.
  • Topic Stats
  • Top Replies
  • Link to this Topic
Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 1,195 • Replies: 25
No top replies

 
gustavratzenhofer
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:43 am
The US Government was structured in order to preserve a balance of power between the three respective branches of government. The three branches are known as the legislative, judicial and executive. Our forefathers, concerned that one branch of government would become too powerful created a system of separated powers and checks and balances to help stabilize the federal government.


Legislative Branch



The legislative branch of includes Congress and government agencies. Congress makes laws and has two parts: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress is charged with the responsibility of creating making laws by writing what is known as a "bill." If a bill is passed, it becomes a law if the President (Executive Branch) approves them.



Other powers delegated to Congress include, the power to declare war and control inter-state trade.


Senate



Two Senators are elected from every state in order to achieve equal representation among the states in the Senate. Each Senator is elected for a six-year term and no term limits are placed on a Senator's seat.



The Senate is responsible for approving treaties, confirming presidential nominations, and conducting trials.


House of Representatives



There are four hundred and thirty five representatives in the House. The numbers vary greatly from state to state since representation corresponds to population. Each representative represents what is known as a congressional district. The amount of representatives a state has is based on the amount of congressional districts within that state. Bigger states have more representatives and smaller ones have less. Each representative serves for a two-year term.



Executive Branch



The executive branch includes the President, Vice President, Departments, and Independent Agencies. This branch is responsible for the enforcement of laws enacted by Congress.


President

The President is the head of the executive branch. The powers of the President are designated by Article II of the Constitution. Some of the President's powers include: Commander-in-Chief, making treaties (with the approval of Congress), declaring war (with the approval of Congress), signing bills into law, suggesting bills, appointing judges, heads of departments, and other officials (with the approval of Congress), and pardoning. The President serves a four-year term, with a two-term maximum.



The President plays a crucial role in the law making process. He has the power to sign a bill into law. Once both the House of Representatives and Senate pass a bill, then that bill is presented to the President. If the President agrees with the bill, it is signed into law. If the President does not agree with it, then it can be vetoed.




Judicial Branch



Article III of the Constitution established the judicial branch of government and the creation of the Supreme Court. The duties of the Supreme Court include the power of judicial review. This means they interpret laws, decide the constitutionality of laws, and determine how laws should be applied.




Supreme Court



The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land. Its main function is to decide the constitutionality of laws. This is part of our system of checks and balances. In order to make sure that Congress and the President are acting with in the terms of the Constitution, the court has the power to review the law. If the law is unconstitutional, it can be stricken.



The Supreme Court also has the power to overturn laws and decisions made by lower courts. If a lower court has decided a case that is not is not considered principled, constitutional, or justifiable for a variety of reasons that law may be overturned.



There are nine members of this court and each is appointed for life. The Justices hold their positions until they resign, retire or are impeached.


I'm sorry I had to be so succinct but I have to finish putting bulletproof vests on my animals to protect them from the forthcoming terrorists.
0 Replies
 
Letty
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:48 am
Kev, congress is composed of the house of representatives and the senate. It is called a bi-cameral structure. The founding fathers created a system of government whereby America would have what is known as a balance of power. For example, Congress; Judiciary; Executive.

This morning I read that the state of Virginia and Montana will decide if the senate will have a balanced representation of both democrats and republicans that represent the major political parties here.

Before I go on, I will see if my explanation is clear.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 07:58 am
Quote:
There are four hundred and thirty five representatives in the House. The numbers vary greatly from state to state since representation corresponds to population. Each representative represents what is known as a congressional district. The amount of representatives a state has is based on the amount of congressional districts within that state. Bigger states have more representatives and smaller ones have less.


Or, put another way, every Congressional District has about the same amount of people in it, (about 650,000). That is why populous states like California, (over 30 million people), have many more representatives than small states.

Since EVERY state, no matter how few people, must have at least one representative to the House of Representatives, some Congressional Distiricts have much less than 650,000 people. For instance, the entire state of Wyoming has only 250,000 people in it. It has to have at least one Congressional District, so Wyoming's lone Congressional District has 250,000 people.

In most other states, however, it is possible to divide the state up so that it's Congressional Distiricts have somewhere near 650,000 people.
0 Replies
 
dadpad
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:01 am
I was led to believe half senate elections are conducted. Is that correct?
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:11 am
dadpad wrote:
I was led to believe half senate elections are conducted. Is that correct?


No, 1/3 every 2 years so as to keep some experience in the Senate.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:12 am
Each Senator has a term of six years, (unless he was appointed to fill in for Senator who has left-a rare occurrance).

The President has a term of four years.

Each Congressional Representative from the House of Representatives has a term of two years.

Elections are held every November. However, elections for Congressional Representatives are held EVERY even numbered year, such as this one.

Since the President has a four year term, his election is held every SECOND Congressional election.

The terms of the Senators are staggered so that one third of the Senate, (33 or 34 Senators) are up for election every even numbered year. Of course, once each individual Senator is elected, he is in there for six years. so 33 senators will get elected this year for six year terms, in 2008 33 different Senators will get elected for six year terms, and in 2010 the remaining 34 Senators will get elected for six year terms. Then, in 2012, the cycle will start all over again.

Note: correction added in bold type.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:27 am
Elections in odd numbered years, such as 2005, 2007, 2009, etc are for state and local officials, such as Governors, school board officials, Attorney General of the state, etc.

The terms and election year of state and local officials are set by the state or locality, and can be even numbered or odd numbered years. For instance, New York State chooses to have it's governor have a four year term, Arkansas chooses to have it's governor have a two year term.

These odd numbered years are commonly called "off year" elections, since the results do not affect the national government, only the state or local government.
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:28 am
Gus wrote:- "If the President agrees with the bill, it is signed into law. If the President does not agree with it, then it can be vetoed."

Is this correct? One person has the power to decide whether or not a bill is signed into law?

Is there any opportunity of appealing against such a veto?

Doesn't sound very democratic to me, if this is correct.

If the representatives of the people have debated the bill and voted on it, deciding that it should be put into law, how can one man have the power to overturn that?
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:31 am
That is your checks and balances for you.

The President is a member of the Executive branch. The House and Senate are members of the Legislative branch. One checks or balances the other.

However, congress can get a two thirds majority in both the House and Senate and override the President's veto. Then the bill becomes law. obviously,this is not so easy to do.
0 Replies
 
Lord Ellpus
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:33 am
kelticwizard wrote:

However, congress can get a two thirds majority in both the House and Senate and override the President's veto. Then the bill becomes law. obviously,this is not so easy to do.


Ah! That sounds more like it. I thought for one minute that the President had the final say, and nobody could argue with it.

Thank you, kelticwizard.

Carry on, everyone.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:39 am
Congress=The House of Representatives and the Senate.

The number of seats in the House, 435, was made permanent by public law. There is no provision in the Constitution for the number of citizens to be respresented in a congressional district. The number of Senators is determined by the number of states--there are two per state.

As for the question LE has asked, there are three things which a President can do when a bill is forwarded for signature or rejection. He (she) can sign the bill. He (she) can veto the bill. He (she) can ignore the bill--which is known as a "pocket veto," i.e., the President puts the bill in his (her) pocket, and it is approved after ten days if the Congress is in session, but if the Congress is adjourned, then it is vetoed by default after ten days (in both cases, Sundays don't count). So a President who does not wish a bill to become law must veto the bill, or, if the Congress is about to adjourn, he (she) can hold the bill for ten days, until after the adjournment, and the bill will be vetoed by default.

The Constitution holds that if the President actively vetoes the bill, or if the Congress is adjourned, and there is a "pocket veto," that a vote of two thirds of both houses can pass the bill despite the objections of the President.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:48 am
Just thought I would add one more thing. Once a bill becomes law, with or without the President's signature, if a case comes before the US Supreme Court which challenges the law as unconsititutional, the Supreme Court can rule that law unconsititional and the law is stricken down.

The challenge has to come from a real case. The House of Representatives or Senate cannot call up the Supreme Court and ask if a law is unconstitutional before they pass it. Instead, the law must be passed, and some citizen must make a case before a local court that goes to an appeals court, that goes to Federal court, that goes to the Supreme Court.

For instance, someone can be convicted under a law Congress, (or his state or local government), passes and he claims in a lower court that the law is unconstitutional. If the lower court agrees, the other side appeals up the ladder of courts until the US Supreme Court is presented with the case. If the lower court disagrees, the defendant can appeal. There is no guarantee that the appeals court will accept the case. Then the case works itself up to the US Supreme Court that way.

Or a local school board might take a case to a civil court, saying that a law that was just passed is unconsititutional and places an undue financial burden on the school, and the process of appeals begins.

In other words, the Supreme Court can only rule a law is unconstitutional in the context of deciding a real, honest case. It cannot decide out of the blue that a law is unconstitutional and strike it down without a case testing the law before it.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:50 am
Lord Ellpus wrote:
kelticwizard wrote:

However, congress can get a two thirds majority in both the House and Senate and override the President's veto. Then the bill becomes law. obviously,this is not so easy to do.


Ah! That sounds more like it. I thought for one minute that the President had the final say, and nobody could argue with it.

Thank you, kelticwizard.

Carry on, everyone.


When the Constitutional Convention convened, Washington was unaimously chosen to preside. Everyone there, Washington included, had no doubt that he would be the first Chief Magistrate, in whatever form it took--except perhaps, for the delegation of his home state, Virginia, the only delegation which arrived with a plan. Their plan called for a single House, with proportional representation (equal representation was the fatal failing of the Continental Congress), and an executive committee chosen by the Congress, rather than a single executive officer. The states with small populations (lead by New York and New Jersey) mistrusted the states with large populations, which were then Virginia, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

The Senate was not modelled upon the House of Lords, and, in fact, the experience of the councils appointed by Royal Governors (a system which was long followed in Canada after the revolution and before their independence in 1867) made people wary of an upper house. But the Senate was a compromise which gave states equal representation in one house, which is the house responsible for sovereignty (all treaties must be approved by two thirds of the Senate), and government officers (all appointments to the executive branch and the judiciary must be approved by two thirds of the Senate). As is the case in Parliament, money bills must originate in the lower house, although the concept here is based upon the principle that as money comes in proportionally from the application of revenue formulae, the budget must originate in the house with proportional representation, the House of Representative. In Parliament, the House of Commons originates money bills because, originally, the Lords were not taxed, and therefore, the Commons originated money bills since they represented those who would actually pay for the budget.

Washington wanted to hold out for a three-fourths vote to override a Presidential veto. But the members there, despite a continuing, genuine respect for the man, considered that to be too great an encroachment on the legislative, democratic perogative, and the two-thirds vote required to override the Presidential veto was another compromise. Washington was actually rather canny as a politician, and it is possible that he held out for a three-fourths vote simply to assure that vetoes could not be overridden by a simple majority, and that some compromise would assure an extraordinary vote to override.
0 Replies
 
kelticwizard
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 08:56 am
Quote:
The number of seats in the House, 435, was made permanent by public law. There is no provision in the Constitution for the number of citizens to be respresented in a congressional district.


That is correct. However, since this Congress is based on the 2000 Census which found there were 281 million Americans, that comes to an average of 646,000 per Congresssional District.

As each succeeding Census shows a growing number of Americans every ten years, the number of people in the average Congressional District will similarly grow.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 09:03 am
KW is correct about the power of the Supreme Court to void law based upon the putative unconstitutionality of the law in question. However, this is not a power explicitly given the court by the Constitution. Rather, it is the result of the opinion rendered by Mr. Justice Marshall, the first Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, in the case of Marbury versus Madison. You can read about this case here. Basically, Marshall held that a people wouldn't write a constitution if they did not hold it to be the supreme law of the land. The second paragraph of Article VI of the Constitution reads, in its entirety:

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

Therefore, Marshall held that, based upon the jurisdiction of the Supremes (which extends to all suits by persons against states, states against person, and person or states against the central government), the Court has the right and the responsibility to adjudge the constitutionality of any measure under which an action is brought by individuals, states or the central government. That is why, as KW points out, a suit must be pursued throught the courts to the Supremes before it is declared by that highest court to be or not to be constitutional. It has force so long as it is not challenged.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 09:11 am
kelticwizard wrote:
Quote:
The number of seats in the House, 435, was made permanent by public law. There is no provision in the Constitution for the number of citizens to be respresented in a congressional district.


That is correct. However, since this Congress is based on the 2000 Census which found there were 281 million Americans, that comes to an average of 646,000 per Congresssional District.

As each succeeding Census shows a growing number of Americans every ten years, the number of people in the average Congressional District will similarly grow.


The strongest objection to the ratification of the Constitution in 1787 was that there was no bill of rights. The supporters of the Constitution said that the Congress would make that their first order of business if the Constitution were ratified, and that is precisely what the Congress did.

However, there were not ten proposed amendments, there were twelve--and they were sent to the States at the end of September, 1789. The last ten, proposed amendments three through twelve, were all ratified effective December 15, 1791, and became Amendments I through X. The second proposed amendment read:

No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.

But it was not ratified until May 7, 1992, after more than 200 years, at which time it became the XXVIIth Amendment. Members of Congress have since been obliged to be very creative in voting themselves a pay raise.

The first amendment proposed has never been ratified, and likely never will be. It held that there must be one Representative for each 50,000 citizens. That would mean, if it had been ratified, that there would now be more than 5,000 members of the House of Representatives. I leave it to the imagination of each reader whether or not the failure to ratify that amendment is a good or a bad thing.
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 09:18 am
I was wrong above, when i described John Marshall as the first Chief Justice--he was the third Chief Justice. I also failed to provide the link to a description of the very important Marbury versus Madison decision. You can read about Marbury versus Madison here.
0 Replies
 
Ticomaya
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 12:20 pm
Re: Please explain USA politics
kev wrote:
Please explain how this works:

1. House of representatives
2. congress
3. Senate

In ABC language please I don't have a clue

Thank you.


"ABC language," huh? Here you go .....

"Schoolhouse Rock" was series of animated educational shorts that appeared on the ABC television network in the early 1970s, which presented songs illustrating various subjects. The following was a short animation regarding the making of a law.
    [url=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ][size=18]"I'm Just A Bill"[/size][/url] Boy: Woof! You sure gotta climb a lot of steps to get to this Capitol Building here in Washington. But I wonder who that sad little scrap of paper is? [i]I'm just a bill. Yes, I'm only a bill. And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill. Well, it's a long, long journey To the capital city. It's a long, long wait While I'm sitting in committee, But I know I'll be a law someday At least I hope and pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill.[/i] Boy: Gee, Bill, you certainly have a lot of patience and courage. Bill: Well I got this far. When I started, I wasn't even a bill, I was just an idea. Some folks back home decided they wanted a law passed, so they called their local Congressman and he said, "You're right, there oughta be a law." Then he sat down and wrote me out and introduced me to Congress. And I became a bill, and I'll remain a bill until they decide to make me a law. [i]I'm just a bill Yes I'm only a bill, And I got as far as Capitol Hill. Well, now I'm stuck in committee And I'll sit here and wait While a few key Congressmen discuss and debate Whether they should let me be a law. How I hope and pray that they will, But today I am still just a bill.[/i] Boy: Listen to those congressmen arguing! Is all that discussion and debate about you? Bill: Yeah, I'm one of the lucky ones. Most bills never even get this far. I hope they decide to report on me favourably, otherwise I may die. Boy: Die? Bill: Yeah, die in committee. Oooh, but it looks like I'm gonna live! Now I go to the House of Representatives, and they vote on me. Boy: If they vote yes, what happens? Bill: Then I go to the Senate and the whole thing starts all over again. Boy: Oh no! Bill: Oh yes! [i]I'm just a bill Yes, I'm only a bill And if they vote for me on Capitol Hill Well, then I'm off to the White House Where I'll wait in a line With a lot of other bills For the president to sign And if he signs me, then I'll be a law. How I hope and pray that he will, But today I am still just a bill.[/i] Boy: You mean even if the whole Congress says you should be a law, the president can still say no? Bill: Yes, that's called a veto. If the President vetoes me, I have to go back to Congress and they vote on me again, and by that time you're so old... Boy: By that time it's very unlikely that you'll become a law. It's not easy to become a law, is it? Bill: No! But how I hope and I pray that I will, But today I am still just a bill. Congressman: He signed you, Bill! Now you're a law! Bill: Oh yes!!!
0 Replies
 
kev
 
  1  
Reply Wed 8 Nov, 2006 04:33 pm
Thank you Ticomaya we watch the Simpsons in Britain so I'm familiar with the song.

Gus, your explanation is so perfect it will take me an ice age to work through it, and this from a man who lives in a swamp and eats live hogs for supper Confused

I think Gus it's high time you came clean and told us who you really are, you sure aint a hillbilly
0 Replies
 
 

Related Topics

Obama '08? - Discussion by sozobe
Let's get rid of the Electoral College - Discussion by Robert Gentel
McCain's VP: - Discussion by Cycloptichorn
Food Stamp Turkeys - Discussion by H2O MAN
The 2008 Democrat Convention - Discussion by Lash
McCain is blowing his election chances. - Discussion by McGentrix
Snowdon is a dummy - Discussion by cicerone imposter
GAFFNEY: Whose side is Obama on? - Discussion by gungasnake
 
  1. Forums
  2. » Please explain USA politics
Copyright © 2021 MadLab, LLC :: Terms of Service :: Privacy Policy :: Page generated in 0.03 seconds on 12/04/2021 at 02:14:35