Congress and the Legislative Process
“Our intent will not be to create gridlock. Oh, except maybe from time to time.” – Bob Dole
As per Article I, Section 2 and Section 3 of the U.S. Constitution, the United States Congress is divided into two parts (bicameral): the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate. Whereas the U.S. Senate is comprised of two senators per state, the House of Representatives divides 435 representatives among each state, according to U.S. Census data. As per Article I, Section 2, each state has at least one congressional representative. That said, many populous states have over twenty congressional representatives. California, the most populous state in the nation, has over fifty congressional representatives.
Congressional representatives serve a two-year term. As per Article 1, Section 5, a representative proposes bills, amendments, and resolutions, and serves on a myriad of congressional committees. Yet, in contrast to a U.S. senator, congressional representatives serve a distinct, geographical area – his or her congressional district. Thus, they are charged with representing the political will of the citizens in their district.
Each member of Congress maintains an official website. You can either access house.gov or senate.gov to look up your Congressional representative or both Senators; or you can look up members of Congress via Congress.gov. Each member of Congress includes within their official website information about the member of Congress, information about the district and/or state, legislative issues, and information regarding constituent services.
Additional information about members of Congress (not actually written by said members of Congress) can be obtained from the following resources:
The Voter’s Self Defense System. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://votesmart.org.
OnTheIssues.org. (n.d.). OnTheIssues.org – Candidates on the Issues. Retrieved from https://www.ontheissues.org.
Data on Campaign Finance, Super PACs, Industries, and Lobbying. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.opensecrets.org.
GovTrack.us. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.govtrack.us.
Directions: Using the required, academic readings, and supplemental academic research, please address the following while adhering to the Discussion Board Rubric:
Identify the constitutional powers of Congress.
Select your House of Representative or one of your two Senators.
Your member of Congress serves on various committees and/or subcommittees in Congress. Identify and describe those committees and/or subcommittees.
What political, social, and economic issues are important to your member of Congress?
Write a letter to your selected member of Congress. Please include the following:
An analysis of how this member of Congress aligns with you regarding at least two political issues.
Support your analysis with specific legislation that your member of Congress either wrote (sponsored) or voted for or against.
U.S. Senate. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.senate.gov/.
U.S. House of Representatives. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.house.gov/.
National Constitution Center. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://constitutioncenter.org/.
The Legislative Process: Overview. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/legislative-process.
The Constitution of the United States. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.archives.gov/founding-docs/constitution.