Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Basic Civics: The Legislature

Today folks we are going to get back to basic civics. Some of this stuff you won't find in any book. It is what we call "the truth". The truth will not set you free, but it will help you understand the great unwashed power mongers in DC.

Today we look at the three distinct branches of our federal government. Each is unique and actually designed to not compliment each other. It is the only government inefficiency that makes sense. Are you ready? In that case, read on...

The first of the three branches government is the Legislative Branch. Also known as Congress, there are two houses. The first house is the Senate. There are two Senators per state. The second is the House of Representatives. They are apportioned among the states based on population.

Congress is tasked with making all Federal Law within the USA. In fact, according to Article 1 of the Constitution, they are the only body that can write legislation.

Additionally, the specific abilities and limitations of Congress are listed in Article 1, Sections 8 & 9. This is important because it forms a basis of that balancing act known as Checks and Balances.

The simplest explanation is that creating law, the Congress is supposed to be the most forward looking of the branches of government. Any law is forever unless an expiration (sunset provision) is written into it. They, Congress, must consider the effect of that law on society in future decades.

Congress also has the role (specific to the Senate) of confirming key appointments of the President. This has the effect of ensuring that the White House cannot create a dictatorship by appointing in effect "the kings men".

For an example of how the Congress makes law that has a long term effect, all you have to do is look at one that is in progress.

The bottom line when considering a vote for a member of congress is "Are you prepared to have this person making laws for the rest of your life?"

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