The Congress

The Legislative Branch of the government makes the laws. It is made up of the Congress, which is divided into two parts: The Senate and The House of Representatives. These members of Congress are elected by the people.

Article I of the U.S. Constitution gives power to Congress. "Section 1-All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives."

The powers given to Congress include: "to lay and collect taxes," "borrow money on the credit of the United States," "regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several States,"coin money," "establish post offices," "declare war," "raise and support armies," and "make all laws" necessary for the execution of its own powers and "all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States." Other powers are given to Congress in other articles of the Constitution. Among the implied powers of Congress is the right to establish procedures to carry out their work. It takes both houses of Congress to pass a law.

The Houses of Congress meet separately in the Capitol, Washington, D.C., but may meet together to receive important communications from the president or to listen to an address by a visiting foreign dignitary. Most sessions of Congress are open to the public and are reported by the press, television, and radio. Except for secret material of importance to the national welfare, the proceedings of Congress are published in the Congressional Record.