Legislative Branch

Do you want to be a Congressman??

Are you interested in laws? Do you think you can make a difference?

Then you could be the perfect fit for the Legislative Branch, in which you will experience the power of LAW-MAKING!!!!!! You can be part one of the two houses of Congress, and maybe one day approve the law that will change our nation for the better!
Congress for Dummies -- Article 1 of the Constitution

What makes up the Legislative Branch?- The people you may want to know

Two Houses
  • The House of Representative-435 members (populated states=more representatives, less populated states=fewer representatives)
  • The other house is the Senate-100 members, 2 per state
  • Speaker of the house (Congress leader) Paul Ryan
House of Representatives
  • House of Rep. Majority leader - Kevin McCarthy of California (represents republicans)
  • House of Rep. Minority leader - Nancy Pelosi of Maryland (represents democrats)
  • Joe Biden leads Senate ( Vice President), is tie breaker vote in a tied vote
  • President Pro Tempore - Orin Hatch of Utah (leads Senate in absence of Vice president)
  • Senate Majority leader - Mitch McConnell of Connecticut (represents republicans)
  • Senate Minority leader - Harry Reid of Nevada (represents democrats)

  • Niki Tsongas - Massachusetts District 3 Rep. , representing Northern Mass.
  • Massachusetts senators- Elizabeth Warren, Ed Markey

Interested? Qualifications and when you can to run for the legislative branch:


  • For House of Reps. , you must be 25 years of age, a U.S. citizen for seven+ years, and a resident of the state (but not necessarily the district) you represent.

  • Senators must be 30 years old, a U.S citizen for nine+ years, and a resident of the state you represent

When are the elections?

  • Representatives are elected every 2 years
  • Senators are elected every 6 years

What would you do in Congress? Your great powers:

Delegated Powers-the powers granted to Congress in Article 1 of the Constitution. There are many. Congress can....

  • establish taxes
  • regulate foreign /domestic trade
  • declare war, support a military
  • coin money
  • regulate a system of weights and measures

Implied Powers-
powers that are not officially written on the Constitution but are thought to be "necessary and proper" for the Congress to have to help the nation. :

  • pass health care laws
  • moderate minimun wage
  • getting rid of the penny
  • Creating a national bank

Making bills into laws-the most important job you need to do!!

How a bill becomes a law

  1. Starts as idea from a community
  2. Sponsored by a local congressmen who writes down bill
  3. It is presented to the House or Senate, who assigns the bill a number and records it
  4. Sent to a Senate or House committee for editing and approval
  5. Passes through House for approval vote-need a majority to pass (218 votes)
  6. Passes through Senate for approval vote-need a majority to pass (51 votes)
  7. Sent to the President for his signature - If he signs, it passes, if rejected, it's vetoed
  8. If vetoed, bill given to congress. If 2/3 of congress approves, it passes without the president's signature

And It becomes a Law!!!!!!!!

I'm Just a Bill (Schoolhouse Rock!)

Which house is for you? Key differences

House of Representatives

  • Representation depends on the size of each state
  • Only House introduces revenue bills
  • Only House can impeach officials
  • House can elect the president in a dead tie
  • Called "lower house", has less time to make an impact

  • Two senators per state, always 100 members
  • Senate approves foreign treaties
  • Called "upper house", makes more laws
  • Approves members for President's cabinet + Supreme Court
  • Holds trial for impeached officials