How Congress Works
constitution created three branches in our government: legislative,
executive and judicial.
Congress is the legislative branch, which makes the laws. Congress has two chambers, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Each state has two Senators representing the entire state, so there are 100 Senators in total. States are divided into districts based on population, and each district elects a Member to the House of Representatives. There are 435 members in the U.S. House of Representatives. Jim is a Member of the House representing the people of Tennessee's 5th District.
Congress divides its major legislative work into committees, where bills usually originate. Committees are specialized by subject and hold hearings, prepare bills for the consideration of the entire House, and regulate House procedure.
In addition to creating and debating laws, Members of Congress also serve as your official liasion with other federal agencies. If you need help with federal agency, visit the "Help with Federal Agencies" section.
Congress also works with local and state officials to coordinate resources, and this is especially important for disaster assistance.
The Legislative Process
From official the U.S. House of Representatives website:
"All Legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives."
(Article I, Section 1, of the United States Constitution)
The chief function of Congress is the making of laws. The legislative process comprises a number of steps, many of which are explained on this page about the legislation introduced and considered in the 111th Congress. To help you understand the information and how it interrelates, it presents a brief and helpful overview of the legislative process within the House of Representatives. There are, however, many aspects and variations of the process which are not addressed there. For more information on the overall process, check out How Our Laws Are Made.
Be sure to check out one of my favorite videos on how this process works: Schoolhouse Rock's "How a Bill Becomes a Law."