What does the Constitution say about the composition of Congress?
- What are the requirements for someone to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives?
- What are the requirements for someone to serve in the U.S. Senate?
- What are the terms of office for representatives and senators?
- How many members are there in the House and the Senate?
- What is the speaker of the House?
- Who was the first speaker of the House?
- Who became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House?
- Who was the only speaker of the House also to become president of the United States?
- How does the Constitution give Congress the power to impact law?
The U.S. Constitution provides that Congress shall consist of two houses—a Senate and a U.S. House of Representatives. The Founders believed in a bicameral legislative body, meaning that the legislature consist of two bodies. This was based on the English Parliament, which consists of a House of Lords and a House of Commons.
What are the requirements for someone to serve in the U.S. House of Representatives?
A person must be at least 25 years of age to serve in the House of Representatives. He or she must have been a citizen of the United States for seven years and he or she must "be an Inhabitant of that State" in which he or she is chosen.
What are the requirements for someone to serve in the U.S. Senate?
A person must be at least 30 years of age to serve in the U.S. Senate. He or she must have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years and also inhabit the state for which he or she has been elected to serve.
What are the terms of office for representatives and senators?
Members of the House of Representatives serve for two-year terms, while U.S. Senators serve for six-year terms.
How many members are there in the House and the Senate?
There are 435 members of the U.S House of Representatives and 100 members of the Senate. States have different numbers of representatives depending upon the population of that state. For example, Rhode Island has only two representatives, while California has 53 representatives.
What is the speaker of the House?
The speaker of the House is the technical leader of the House of Representatives. The speaker of the House calls the House to order, issues the oath of office to new members of the House, presides over House debates, calls on representatives to speak during debate, sets the legislative agenda, and leads the appointment process for various committees and committee chairs in the House.
The speaker of the House also is third in line to the presidency after the president and vice president.
The seat for the speaker of the House, as well as the Senate president. The speaker is third in line to the presidency (iStock).
Who was the first speaker of the House?
The first speaker of the House was Frederick Augustus Conrad Muhlenberg. Born in Trappe, Pennsylvania, in 1750, he was an ordained Lutheran minister, and he later served as a member of the Continental Congress, as a state representative for Pennsylvania, and speaker of the House for that state. A delegate to the 1787 Constitutional Convention, he was elected to the U.S. Congress and served as speaker for the First and Third Congresses. He died in 1801.
Who became the first woman to serve as speaker of the House?
The current speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi, is the first woman to hold this office. She was elected to the position on January 4, 2007. A representative from San Francisco, California, Pelosi is the daughter of Thomas D'Alesandro, Jr., a former mayor of Baltimore and member of the House.
Who was the only speaker of the House also to become president of the United States?
James K. Polk, the eleventh president of the United States, first served as speaker of the House for the Twenty-fourth and Twenty-fifth Congresses from 1835 to 1839. He did not seek re-election in Congress but instead ran for governor of Tennessee. He later served as president of the United States from 1845 to 1849. He did not seek reelection for president and died later in 1849.
How does the Constitution give Congress the power to impact law?
The early civics lesson taught in schools provides that the legislative branch creates laws, the executive branch enforces the laws, and the judicial branch interprets the laws. Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution explains that Congress has the power to pass laws by explaining how such laws can be passed. Article I, Section 8—the main source in the Constitution that explains Congress' various powers—states that Congress has the power to create courts lower than the United States Supreme Court.
The last clause in Article I, Section 8—the necessary and proper clause—gives Congress much power in the area of lawmaking by providing that it can pass all laws necessary and proper to carrying out its various powers and functions. The clause states:
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.