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The U.S. Congress

The U.S. Capitol

The U.S. Congress is made up of two parts, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Congress meets at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Its primary duty is to write, debate, and pass bills, which are then passed on to the President for approval.

Other Powers of Congress

  • Makes laws controlling trade between states and between the
    United States and other countries.
  • Makes laws about taxes and borrowing money.
  • Approves the making of money.
  • Can declare war on other countries.

Each Congress lasts for two years. When the two years are over, new Members of Congress are elected. We are currently in the 110th Congress. Congress meets once every year and usually last from January 3rd to July 31st, but in special cases, it can last longer.

The way that states are represented in the House and the Senate is different. Why is this? Well, when the Founding Fathers were drafting the Constitution, there were debates over how states would be represented. States with larger populations wanted more representation than states with smaller populations. Meanwhile, states with smaller populations favored equal representation. So, a compromise was made -- Representation in the Senate would be equal, while representation in the House would be based on population.