The Unexamined Powers of Congress
The United States Congress is actually a bicameral legislative body of United States and comprises both the House of Representatives and the Senate, the legislatively created branch of U.S. government. The Congress meetings in the United States Capitol in Washington D.C every year to discuss, make laws, and decide on important matters that concern the American people. Each session of Congress convenes for a span of two years, with each chamber meeting for two days. Congress may be divided into two committees, with one holding regular sessions and the other sineced to report to the full Congress. The Senate is the more powerful of both chambers of Congress as it has the majority in both the House and the Senate and hence holds the greater power in legislation.
Congress is divided into three branches – the House of Representatives, the Senate, and the U.S. Commission on International Relations or the United States Commission on National Security. In addition to these three branches, there exists an administrative branch – the U.S. Office of Management and Budget orOMB – and a judicial branch – the U.S. Courts. While each of these branches exercises jurisdiction over certain legislations, they actually perform the same duties and work under the same principles that guide the legislative branch.
Congress passes all laws required by the Constitution, and all acts of Congress are binding on the courts. The U.S. Congress does not exercise any other constitutional powers, except those imposed by the Constitution. Congress can delegate powers to the executive branch, but only to the extent that such delegations are expressed by the Constitution. Thus, the president has no constitutional authority to act on his own; he must consult with Congress before taking any action. Congress delegates legislative powers only to the president.
Unlike the executive branch, the United States Congress has checks and balances to prevent the executive branch from exercising improper power. The checks and balances are made by individual state representatives and United States Senator and Representatives. Each state representative is subject to Article VI of the Constitution and can be impeached, removed, or disqualified from office for any reason at all. Congress is generally controlled by the states and so most state legislators are more interested in protecting the American people than in promoting their own career advancement.
The U.S. Senate, composed of 12 members, is generally more concerned with what will happen as a whole than with individual legislation. Therefore, most bills are sent to a full committee, which is controlled by the majority party in the Senate, which then makes the decision on whether the bill passes or not. The full committee makes its decisions based on the committee’s ranking system: meaning that a bill that receives a five percent vote may end up with a full committee with only one vote from the majority party. A bill that receives a one percent vote may well end up being passed by a full committee.
Since the U.S. Congress cannot be considered to exercise sovereign powers over another country (the twenty-six nations involved in the United Nations Security Council), it is beyond the debate if the powers of Congress to extend to all of United States citizens. For instance, if terrorists attacked America and there was a lone wolf terrorist act of terrorism in a city anywhere in the country, would that be an action that Congress had the power to prevent? Of course it would! Congress has the constitutional authority to protect the American people and to use force against those who commit acts of violence in this country and abroad.