Welcome back! I hope you all had a Merry Christmas this weekend!
This week's theme is Congress. As I've discussed in previous posts in this series, Congress is what we call the two houses of the legislative branch of government. Due to its importance as one of the three branches of the federal government, Congress features in several questions on the test.
Question 61: Who makes federal laws?
Answer: Congress/Senate and House of Representatives/US or national legislature
As I've discussed in previous posts, Congress (made up of the Senate and House of Representatives) is in charge of writing federal laws. These laws have to do with many parts of your day to day life, and you might not even know it. Not only does Congress regulate federal crimes, it determines the national budget, provides for the military and veterans, regulates the post office, and provides social programs like Social Security and healthcare under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).
Question 62: What are the two parts of US Congress?
Answer: The Senate and House of Representatives
The federal legislative branch is bi-cameral, which means there are "two houses" of Congress. The reason for this is to further divide powers so that no one person or group of people can make all of the decisions for the country.
I like to think of the Senate as the big brother of Congress, while the House of Representatives is the little brother. The Senate is considered more prestigious, and is made up of slightly older members (you must be at least 30 years old to be a Senator; you only have to be 25 to be a member of the House of Representatives). Senators also have longer terms (6 years, instead of 2) so they have more consistency. The Founding Fathers set up Congress this way so that the House of Representatives would more fully represent the population, but the Senators would be slightly wiser and serve as a check on House members.
Question 63: Why do some states have more Representatives than other states?
Answer: because of the state's population/because they have more people
The number of members in the House of Representatives is determined by the population of each state, and the number elected from each state could change every 10 years after the US Census.
California has the most representatives because it is the largest state by population. Some states, such as South Dakota and Vermont, have only one representative, because they have a very small population. You can learn more about the House of Representatives here.
Question 64: The House of Representatives has how many voting members?
You can find a list of all of the representatives here.
Question 65: How many US Senators are there?
This question is much easier to remember than Question #64. There are two senators for each state, and there are 50 states. So, there are 100 senators -- a nice, even number!