The Legislative Branch

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Article I of the Constitution establishes the legislative or law making branch of government. It has a two-branch Congress (bicameral)—the Senate and the House of Representatives—and agencies that support Congress. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election by the people they represent.

The House of Representatives is currently comprised of 435 members, and seats are apportioned among the states by population. Representatives serve 2 year terms with no limit to the number of consecutive terms one can serve. Each state has 2 senators regardless of population. The 100 senators serve staggered six-year terms.  Every two years, approximately one-third of the Senate is elected.  This process allows for the Congress to better reflect the changing social landscape and ensure the best representation of the people.

The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process and legislation cannot become law without the majority support of BOTH houses. The Constitution does grant each house special powers: the Senate has the ability to ratify treaties and approve presidential appointments while fund raising bills must originate in the House of Representatives, which also has sole impeachment power. Interestingly, the Senate has the sole power to actually try impeachment cases.

The Congress meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C.

Contacting Congress

SENATE:
ALL Inquiries and requests should be directed to the Senators from your state, including those related to issues of public policy, legislation, or requests for personal assistance.  Please be aware that as a matter of professional courtesy, many Senators will acknowledge, but not respond to, a message from another Senator's constituent.

For correspondence to U.S. Senators:
Office of Senator (Name)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

For correspondence to Senate Committees:
(Name of Committee)
United States Senate
Washington, D.C. 20510

Switchboard:  (202) 224-3121 - you will be transferred to the office you request.

Senate Committees:
Standing
Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry
Appropriations
Armed Services
Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
Budget
Commerce, Science, and Transportation
Energy and Natural Resources
Environment and Public Works
Finance
Foreign Relations
Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions
Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs
Judiciary
Rules and Administration
Small Business and Entrepreneurship
Veterans' Affairs
Special, Select, and Other
Indian Affairs
Select Committee on Ethics
Select Committee on Intelligence
Special Committee on Aging
Joint
Joint Committee on Printing
Joint Committee on Taxation
Joint Committee on the Library
Joint Economic Committee

HOUSE of REPRESENTATIVES:
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, DC 20515
(202) 224-3121
TTY: (202) 225-1904

HOUSE LEADERSHIP:
Office of the Speaker
Office of the Majority Leader
Office of the Republican Leader
House Majority Whip
Republican Whip
Democratic Caucus
House Democrats
House Republican Conference
House Republican Policy Committee

HOUSE COMMITTEES
Committee on Agriculture
Committee on Appropriations
Committee on Armed Services
Committee on the Budget
Committee on Education and Labor
Committee on Energy and Commerce
Committee on Financial Services
Committee on Foreign Affairs
Committee on Homeland Security
Committee on House Administration
Committee on the Judiciary
Committee on Natural Resources
House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming
Committee on Rules
Committee on Science and Technology
Committee on Small Business
Committee on Standards of Official Conduct
Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure
Committee on Veterans' Affairs
Committee on Ways and Means
Joint Economic Committee
Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies
Joint Committee on Taxation
House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence
Committee on Oversight and Government Reform

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