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THE STRUCTURE OF THE USA GOVERNMENT
The United States of America is a federation of 50 states which was established by the Constitution in 1787. Each state has its own government and its own capital city and within each state there are smaller subdivisions of local government such as counties, townships, cities and villages.
The federal government of the United States is divided into three main branches: the legislative, the executive and the judicial. The legislative branch of the government is the Congress. The function of the legislative branch of the government is to make laws and to finance the operation of the government through gathering taxes and appropriating money requested by the executive branch of the government.
The executive branch, which includes the President, vice-president, and the President's cabinet, is responsible for administering and executing the laws.
The judicial branch of the federal government consists of the Supreme Court of the United States and the system of federal courts. It has the responsibility of judging the constitutionality of acts of law.
THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
The legislative branch if the U.S. government is vested in the Congress. The Congress of the U.S. is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The term of the Congress is for two years.
The U.S. Senate has 100 members - two from each of the 50 states. Each Senator is chosen by a majority of voters in the entire state, and his job is to represent the whole state. Members of the senate are elected to six-year terms.
The Constitution says that a Senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the U.S. for nine years, and a resident of the state from which he is elected.
The US. House of Representatives has 435 members. The Constitution says that each state, no matter how small in population, must have at least one Representative. A Representative must be at least 25, a U.S. citizen for seven years, and live in the state from which he is elected. Each state, except the five which elect only one Representative for the whole state, is divided into Congressional districts. The Constitution, however, does not require the Representative to live in the Congressional district that elects him. Most do not live in their districts.
The business of Congress is to make laws. The U.S. Constitution also gives Congress the power to:
- Raise money by means of taxes or borrowing.
- Make rules for trade with foreign countries and between states.
- Set up post-offices and federal courts.
- Organize the Armed Forces.
- Declare war.
The U.S. Senate has some special powers. It must approve by majority vote the President's appointment of such high officials as ambassadors, Cabinet members, and federal judges.
The Senate must also improve, by a two-thirds majority vote, a treaty between the U. S. and a foreign country before the treaty can become a law. Congressmen do work long and hard. But most of the work is done in committee meetings. Here bills are situated, experts beard, and recommendations are made to the whole House or Senate.
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