National Government: The Legislative Branch
Standard(s) of Learning
||The student will demonstrate knowledge of the organization and powers of the national government by
||examining the legislative, executive, and judicial branches;
||analyzing the relationship between the three branches in a system of checks and balances.
Describe how the legislative branch is a bicameral body with committees playing a major role in the legislative process.
The two houses of Congress
• The Senate: 100 members, with each state having two senators
• The House of Representatives: 435 members, with representation based on the population of the state(s)
• Committees are organized by subject matter.
• Because of the large volume of work, committees are essential to the legislative process.
Explain that the Constitution of the United States of America grants both expressed and implied powers to the legislative branch.
Expressed powers of Congress
• Levy taxes
• Borrow money
• Regulate commerce
• Coin money
Implied powers allow Congress to do all things “necessary and proper” to carry out its expressed powers.
Evaluate how a constitutional system of checks and balances gives each of the three branches of government ways to limit the powers of the other branches and protect against an abuse of power by any one branch of government.
Identify checks of the legislative branch:
• Over the executive branch
– To override vetoes
– To impeach a President
– To approve treaties
– To approve presidential appointments
• Over the judicial branch
– To approve federal judges
– To impeach judges
Below is an annotated list of Internet resources for this organizing topic. Copyright restrictions may exist for the material on some Web sites. Please note and abide by any such restrictions.
“Bills and Resolutions.” The Library of Congress. <http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/amlaw/lwhbsb.html>. This searchable site allows users to access specific bills and resolutions introduced in the House and Senate, as well as Joint Resolutions of Congress.
“Committee Offices.”United States House of Representatives. <http://www.house.gov/committees/>. This site offers information on House committees.
“Congressional Committee Information.” <http://www.lib.umich.edu/govdocs/comm.html>. This site provides information on Congressional Committees.
Congress.Org. <http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/>. This site allows searches of Congressional representation by zip code. It also provides contact information on the members of Congress.
Curriculum Framework. Virginia and United States Government. Virginia Board of Education, 2008. <http://www.doe.virginia.gov/.../2008_final/framewks_va-us_gov.pdf>. This site provides a teaching guide for the course in Virginia and United States Government.
Virginia General Assembly. <http://legis.state.va.us/1_cit_guide/cit_welcome.html>. This site presents a citizen’s guide to the Virginia General Assembly.
The White House. <http://www.whitehouse.gov/government/cabinet.html>. This site shows the current members of the President's cabinet. And this site shows the governmental agencies: <http://www.firstgov.gov/Agencies/Federal/Independent.shtml>.