United States Congress - Wikipedia
Privileges[ edit ] Under the Constitution, members of both houses enjoy the privilege of being free from arrest in all cases, except for treasonfelonyand breach of the peace. This immunity applies to members during sessions and when traveling to and from sessions. The rules of the House strictly guard this privilege; a member may not waive the privilege on his or her own, but must seek the permission of the whole house to do so.
Senate rules, on the other hand, are less strict, and permit individual senators to waive the privilege as they see fit.
The Constitution also guarantees absolute freedom of debate in both houses, providing, "for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place. However, each house has its own rules restricting offensive speeches, and may punish members who transgress them. Obstructing the work of Congress is a crime under federal lawand is known as contempt of Congress. Each house of Congress has the power to cite individuals for contempt, but may not impose any punishment.
Instead, after a house issues a contempt citation, the judicial system pursues the matter like a normal criminal case. If convicted in court, an individual found guilty of contempt of Congress may be imprisoned for up to one year. As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants' contributions.
And like Federal employees, members contribute one-third of the cost of health insurance with the government covering the other two-thirds.
- Structure of the United States Congress
- U.S. Congress in relation to the president and Supreme Court
- United States Congress
If members leave Congress before reaching retirement age, they may leave their contributions behind and receive a deferred pension later. The Library of Congress main reading room in the Thomas Jefferson Building Another privilege is the use of the Library of Congress which is housed in three buildings.
Though they are not permitted to send election materials, borderline material is often sent, especially in the run-up to an election by those in close races. This helps them stay informed. Sometimes, however, these can cause controversy if the trip is deemed excessive or unconnected with the task of governing.
A Congress covers two years; the current one, the th Congressbegan on January 3,and will end on January 3, The Congress starts and ends on the third day of January of every odd-numbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators; members of the House of Representatives are referred to as representatives, congresswomen, or congressmen.
Scholar and representative Lee H. Hamilton asserted that the "historic mission of Congress has been to maintain freedom" and insisted it was a "driving force in American government"  and a "remarkably resilient institution".
Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses. It reflects our regional idiosyncrasies, our ethnic, religious, and racial diversity, our multitude of professions, and our shadings of opinion on everything from the value of war to the war over values. Congress is the government's most representative body Congress is essentially charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day.
Most incumbents seek re-election, and their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent. The Articles of Confederation in created the Congress of the Confederationa unicameral body with equal representation among the states in which each state had a veto over most decisions.
Congress had executive but not legislative authority, and the federal judiciary was confined to admiralty. Government powerlessness led to the Convention of which proposed a revised constitution with a two—chamber or bicameral congress.
Constitutional Topic: Checks and Balances - The U.S. Constitution Online - japancarnews.info
Zelizer suggested there were four main congressional eras, with considerable overlap, and included the formative era s—sthe partisan era s—sthe committee era s—sand the contemporary era s—today.
With the passage of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, the Anti-Federalist movement was exhausted. Thomas Jefferson's election to the presidency marked a peaceful transition of power between the parties in John Marshall, 4th Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, empowered the courts by establishing the principle of judicial review in law in the landmark case Marbury v. Madison ineffectively giving the Supreme Court a power to nullify congressional legislation.
The watershed event was the Civil War which resolved the slavery issue and unified the nation under federal authority, but weakened the power of states rights. The Gilded Age — was marked by Republican dominance of Congress. During this time, lobbying activity became more intense, particularly during the administration of President Ulysses S.
Grant in which influential lobbies advocated for railroad subsidies and tariffs on wool. The Progressive Era was characterized by strong party leadership in both houses of Congress as well as calls for reform; sometimes reformers would attack lobbyists as corrupting politics. The Senate was effectively controlled by a half dozen men.
Committee chairmen remained influential in both houses until the reforms of the s. Important structural changes included the direct election of senators by popular election according to the Seventeenth Amendment ratified in April 8,with positive effects senators more sensitive to public opinion and negative effects undermining the authority of state governments.
Roosevelt 's election in marked a shift in government power towards the executive branch.