Segments in this Video

Legislative Branch (04:02)


The Founding Fathers created a government with three branches so each could police the others. Congress has the power to make laws.

Senate (01:45)

Each state has two senators, regardless of population. Senators are elected for six year terms.

Getting Elected to Congress (05:10)

The amount of money and votes necessary to get elected to Congress is different for each race. Political parties can choose candidates through primary elections, conventions, or nomination by petition. The capital building has been rebuilt and moved multiple times.

Political Parties (05:11)

Democrats and Republicans sit on opposite sides of the aisle in the chamber hall. The party with the most seats is the majority party. If the president and the majority Congress are from the same party, it is called a unified government.

Powers of Congress (06:36)

Congress has the power to raise money through taxes and make laws, which are interpreted by the Supreme Court. Congress can amend the Constitution but it is difficult.

Lobbying Congress (03:31)

Special interest groups can influence Congress. Lobbyists can influence the government to promote business practices or social change.

Reporting on Congress (01:06)

More than 2,000 journalists are part of the Capital Hill Press Corps, which reports on Congressional actions. Sessions of Congress are televised on C-SPAN.

Congressional Committees (04:56)

Congress is divided into committees and subcommittees. The number of committees has grown as legislative business has become more complex. Most of the work done to draft a piece of legislation is done in committees.

Making Laws (06:33)

Making laws is the most influential power of Congress. Laws start as bills, which can be introduced by any member of Congress. Ideas for laws can be from a member of Congress, an administration, or an outside party. The president has the power to sign or veto any bill.

Congressional Staff (01:32)

Thousands of people are employed to serve Congress members. The Library of Congress has a research branch, which assists Congress.

Credits: The Legislative Branch of Government (02:00)

Credits: The Legislative Branch of Government

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The Legislative Branch of Government

Part of the Series : Understanding Government
3-Year Streaming Price: $169.95



The Senate and House of Representatives, the upper and lower houses of the Legislative Branch, are explored in this outstanding production that delves into the theoretical intention of the Constitution’s Framers, as well as the practical realities of day-to-day congressional operations. Discover important insight about the inner workings of the combined houses, Congress, including how laws are made, the role and power of committees, the influence of special interest groups and lobbyists, and the checks and balances that exist between the two houses and political parties. Noted educators and elected officials share their insight on this very important facet of American political science.

Length: 44 minutes

Item#: BVL154878

Copyright date: ©2004

Closed Captioned

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