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USA Legislative Branch

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What Is the Legislative Branch of the U.S. Government? | History

This video provides the answers to questions such as how the legislative branch came to be, as well as providing an in depth understanding of the branch.

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Definition:
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The legislative branch is responsible for creating laws. For both federal and state governments, only the legislative branch is given the power of legislation, meaning the power to create and pass laws.

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Relevant Constitutional Sections:
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Article 1 Section 2:

  • "The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second Year by the People of the several States"


Article 1 Section 3:

  • "The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six Years; and each Senator shall have one Vote"


Article 1 Section 7:

  • "All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills."

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Composure and Composition:
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The branch consists of two houses, bicameral in nature: the House of Representatives & the Senate. The branch also further consists of the President, who then provides approval to voted bills by both houses.


The House of Representatives is the lower house and where all laws are initiated, consisting of 435 members, elected for a  term of 2 years. Representatives must be at least 25 years old and must have been U.S. citizens for at least 7 years.


The Senate is the Upper house (the States house) and is where all legislation is reviewed, consisting of 100 members - 2 from each state. Senators must be at least 30 years old and must have been U.S. citizens for at least 9 years.

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Checks to The Branch:
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The Supreme Court of the United States has the jurisdiction to rule on the validity of legislation in respect to the Constitution. If any legislation breaches the Constitution as interpreted by the Justices, the legislation can be ruled invalid.


American Presidents can also sign executive orders, meaning that all federal agencies and institutions will abide by these orders. This is a way to somewhat bypass the legislative branch if deemed necessary if it is taking a lot of time. 


Presidents may also veto legislation passed by both houses. This is done by the President refusing to sign the bill. 

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