[United States Government Manual] [May 30, 1997] [Pages 25-32] [From the U.S. Government Printing Office, www.gpo.gov] ------------------------------------------------------------------------ CONGRESS One Hundred and Fifth Congress, First Session The Senate The Capitol, Washington, DC 20510 Phone, 202-224-3121 President of the Senate (Vice President of the Al Gore United States) President pro tempore Strom Thurmond Majority Leader Trent Lott Minority Leader Thomas A. Daschle Secretary of the Senate Gary Sisco Sergeant at Arms Gregory S. Casey Secretary for the Majority Elizabeth B. Greene Secretary for the Minority Martin P. Paone Chaplain Lloyd J. Ogilvie The House of Representatives The Capitol, Washington, DC 20515 Phone, 202-225-3121 The Speaker Newt Gingrich Clerk Robin H. Carle Sergeant at Arms Wilson L. Livingood Chief Administrative Officer Jeff Trandahl, Acting Chaplain Rev. James David Ford ------------------------------------------------------------------------ The Congress of the United States was created by Article I, section 1, of the Constitution, adopted by the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787, providing that ``All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.'' The first Congress under the Constitution met on March 4, 1789, in the Federal Hall in New York City. The membership then consisted of 20 \1\ Senators and 59 Representatives. \1\New York ratified the Constitution on July 26, 1788, but did not elect its Senators until July 15 and 16, 1789. North Carolina did not ratify the Constitution until November 21, 1789; Rhode Island ratified it on May 29, 1790. [[Page 26]]
[[Page 28]] The Senate is composed of 100 Members, 2 from each State, who are elected to serve for a term of 6 years. Senators were originally chosen by the State legislatures. This procedure was changed by the 17th amendment to the Constitution, adopted in 1913, which made the election of Senators a function of the people. There are three classes of Senators, and a new class is elected every 2 years. The House of Representatives comprises 435 Representatives. The number representing each State is determined by population, but every State is entitled to at least one Representative. Members are elected by the people for 2-year terms, all terms running for the same period. Both the Senators and the Representatives must be residents of the State from which they are chosen. In addition, a Senator must be at least 30 years of age and must have been a citizen of the United States for at least 9 years; a Representative must be at least 25 years of age and must have been a citizen for at least 7 years. A Resident Commissioner from Puerto Rico (elected for a 4-year term) and Delegates from American Samoa, the District of Columbia, Guam, and the Virgin Islands complete the composition of the Congress of the United States. Delegates are elected for a term of 2 years. The Resident Commissioner and Delegates may take part in the floor discussions but have no vote in the full House or in the Committee of the Whole House on the State of the Union. They do, however, vote in the committees to which they are assigned. Officers The Vice President of the United States is the Presiding Officer of the Senate; in his absence the duties are taken over by a President pro tempore, elected by that body, or someone designated by him. The Presiding Officer of the House of Representatives, the Speaker, is elected by the House; he may designate any Member of the House to act in his absence. The positions of Senate majority and minority leader have been in existence only since the early years of the 20th century. Leaders are elected at the beginning of each new Congress by a majority vote of the Senators in their political party. In cooperation with their party organizations, leaders are responsible for the design and achievement of a legislative program. This involves managing the flow of legislation, expediting noncontroversial measures, and keeping Members informed regarding proposed action on pending business. Each leader serves as an ex officio member of his party's policymaking and organizational bodies and is aided by an assistant floor leader (whip) and a party secretary. The House leadership is structured essentially the same as the Senate, with the Members in the political parties responsible for the election of their respective leader and whips. The Secretary of the Senate, elected by vote of the Senate, performs the duties of the Presiding Officer of the Senate in the absence of the Vice President and pending the election of a President pro tempore. The Secretary is the custodian of the seal of the Senate, draws requisitions on the Secretary of the Treasury for moneys appropriated for the compensation of Senators, officers, and employees, and for the contingent expenses of the Senate, and is empowered to administer oaths to any officer of the Senate and to any witness produced before it. The Secretary's executive duties include certification of extracts from the Journal of the Senate; the attestation of bills and joint, concurrent, and Senate resolutions; in impeachment trials, issuance, under the authority of the Presiding Officer, of all orders, mandates, writs, and precepts authorized by the Senate; and certification to the President of the United States of the advice and consent of the Senate to ratification of treaties and the names of persons confirmed or rejected upon the nomination of the President. The Sergeant at Arms of the Senate is elected by and serves as the Executive Officer of that body. He directs and supervises the various departments and facilities under his jurisdiction. He is [[Page 29]] also the Law Enforcement and Protocol Officer. As Law Enforcement Officer, he has statutory power to make arrests; to locate absentee Senators for a quorum; to enforce Senate rules and regulations as they pertain to the Senate Chamber, the Senate wing of the Capitol, and the Senate Office Buildings. He serves as a member of the Capitol Police Board and as its chairman each odd year; and, subject to the Presiding Officer, maintains order in the Senate Chamber. As Protocol Officer, he is responsible for many aspects of ceremonial functions, including the inauguration of the President of the United States; arranging funerals of Senators who die in office; escorting the President when he addresses a Joint Session of Congress or attends any function in the Senate; and escorting heads of state when they visit the Senate. The elected officers of the House of Representatives include the Clerk, the Sergeant at Arms, the Doorkeeper, and the Chaplain. The Clerk is custodian of the seal of the House and administers the primary legislative activities of the House. These duties include: accepting the credentials of the Members-elect and calling the Members to order at the commencement of the first session of each Congress; keeping the Journal; taking all votes and certifying the passage of bills; and processing all legislation. Through various departments, the Clerk is also responsible for floor and committee reporting services; legislative information and reference services; the administration of House reports pursuant to certain legislation including the Ethics in Government Act, the Federal Election Campaign Act, and the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995; the distribution of House documents and supervision of the operations of the House Document Room; and administration of the House Page Program. The Clerk is also charged with supervision of the offices vacated by Members due to death, resignation, or expulsion. The Sergeant at Arms maintains the order of the House under the direction of the Speaker and is the keeper of the Mace. As a member of the U.S. Capitol Police Board, the Sergeant at Arms is the chief law enforcement officer for the House and serves as Board Chairman each even year. The ceremonial and protocol duties parallel those of the Senate Sergeant at Arms and include arranging the inauguration of the President of the United States, Joint Sessions of Congress, visits to the House of heads of state, and funerals of Members of Congress. The Sergeant at Arms enforces the rules relating to the privileges of the Hall of the House, including admission to the galleries. The Chief Administrative Officer is charged with the administration of other House support services, including: payroll, benefits, postal operations and internal mail distribution, office furnishings, office equipment, office supplies, and the administration of the House televised floor proceedings. Committees The work of preparing and considering legislation is done largely by committees of both Houses of Congress. There are 16 standing committees in the Senate and 19 in the House of Representatives. The standing committees of the Senate and the House of Representatives are shown in the list below. In addition, there are select committees in each House (one in the House of Representatives for the One Hundred and Fourth Congress), and various congressional commissions and joint committees composed of Members of both Houses. Each House may also appoint special investigating committees. The membership of the standing committees of each House is chosen by a vote of the entire body; members of other committees are appointed under the provisions of the measure establishing them. Each bill and resolution is usually referred to the appropriate committee, which may report a bill out in its original form, favorably or unfavorably, recommend amendments, or allow the proposed legislation to die in committee without action. [[Page 30]] Standing Committees of the Congress ------------------------------------------------------------------------ House Committee Room \1\ Senate Committee Room \2\ ------------------------------------------------------------------------ ____Agriculture............... 1301 Agriculture, SR-328A Nutrition, and Forestry. ____Appropriations............ H218 Appropriations..... S-128 ____Banking and Financial 2129 Armed Services..... SR-228 Services. ____Budget.................... 309 Banking, Housing, SD-534 and Urban Affairs. ____Commerce.................. 2125 Budget............. SD-621 ____Education and the 2181 Commerce, Science, SD-508 Workforce. and Transportation. ____Government Reform and 2157 Energy and Natural SD-364 Oversight. Resources. ____House Oversight........... 1309 Environment and SD-410 Public Works. Commission on Congressional Mailing Standards: Majority.................. 140 Minority.................. 1339 ____International Relations... 2170 Finance............ SD-219 ____Judiciary................. 2138 Foreign Relations.. SD-450 Publications................ B29 ____National Security......... 2120 Governmental SD-340 Affairs. ____Resources................. 1324 Judiciary.......... SD-224 ____Rules..................... H312 Labor and Human SD-428 Resources. Minority.................... 234 ____Science................... 2320 Rules and SR-305 Administration. ____Small Business............ 2361 Small Business..... SR-428A ____Standards of Official HT2 Veterans' Affairs.. SR-412 Conduct. Office of Advice and HT2 Education. ____Transportation and 2165 Infrastructure. ____Veterans' Affairs......... 335 ____Ways and Means............ 1102 ------------------------------------------------------------------------ \1\ Room numbers with three digits are in the Cannon House Office Building, four digits beginning with 1 are in the Longworth House Office Building, and four digits beginning with 2 are in the Rayburn House Office Building. Room numbers preceded by H or HT are in the House Capitol Building. \2\ Room numbers preceded by S are in the main Capitol building; those preceded by SD are in the Dirksen Office Building; and those preceded by SR are in the Russell Office Building. Congressional Record Proceedings of Congress are published in the Congressional Record, which is issued when Congress is in session. Publication of the Record began March 4, 1873; it was the first record of debate officially reported, printed, and published directly by the Federal Government. The Daily Digest of the Congressional Record, printed in the back of each issue of the Record, summarizes the proceedings of that day in each House, and before each of their committees and subcommittees, respectively. The Digest also presents the legislative program for each day and, at the end of the week, gives the program for the following week. Its publication was begun March 17, 1947. Sessions Section 4 of Article I of the Constitution makes it mandatory that ``The Congress shall assemble at least once in every Year. . . .'' Under this provision, also, the date for convening Congress was designated originally as the first Monday in December, ``unless they shall by Law appoint a different Day.'' Eighteen acts were passed, up to 1820, providing for the meeting of Congress on other days of the year. From 1820 to 1934, however, Congress met regularly on the first Monday in December. In 1934 the Twentieth Amendment changed the convening of Congress to January 3, unless Congress ``shall by law appoint a different day.'' In addition, the President, according to Article II, section 3, of the Constitution ``may, on extraordinary Occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in Case of Disagreement between them, with Respect to the Time of Adjournment, he may adjourn them to such Time as he shall think proper. . . .'' Powers of Congress Article I, section 8, of the Constitution defines the powers of Congress. Included are the powers to assess and collect taxes--called the chief power; to regulate commerce, both interstate and foreign; to coin money; to establish post offices and post roads; to establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court; to declare war; and to raise and maintain an army and navy. Congress is further empowered ``To provide for calling forth the Militia to execute the Laws of the Union, suppress Insurrections and repel Invasions;'' and [[Page 31]] ``To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof.'' Amendments to the Constitution Another power vested in the Congress is the right to propose amendments to the Constitution, whenever two-thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary. Should two-thirds of the State legislatures demand changes in the Constitution, it is the duty of Congress to call a constitutional convention. Proposed amendments shall be valid as part of the Constitution when ratified by the legislatures or by conventions of three-fourths of the States, as one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by Congress. Special Powers of the Senate Under the Constitution, the Senate is granted certain powers not accorded to the House of Representatives. The Senate approves or disapproves certain Presidential appointments by majority vote, and treaties must be concurred in by a two-thirds vote. Special Powers of the House of Representatives The House of Representatives is granted the power of originating all bills for the raising of revenue. Both Houses of Congress act in impeachment proceedings, which, according to the Constitution, may be instituted against the President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States. The House of Representatives has the sole power of impeachment, and the Senate has the sole power to try impeachments. Prohibitions Upon Congress Section 9 of Article I of the Constitution also imposes prohibitions upon Congress. ``The Privilege of the Writ of Habeas Corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in Cases of Rebellion or Invasion the public Safety may require it.'' A bill of attainder or an ex post facto law cannot be passed. No export duty can be imposed. Ports of one State cannot be given preference over those of another State. ``No money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law. . . .'' No title of nobility may be granted. Rights of Members According to section 6 of Article I, Members of Congress are granted certain privileges. In no case, except in treason, felony, and breach of the peace, can Members be arrested while attending sessions of Congress ``and in going to and returning from the same. . . .'' Furthermore, the Members cannot be questioned in any other place for remarks made in Congress. Each House may expel a Member of its body by a two-thirds vote. Enactment of Laws All bills and joint resolutions must pass both the House of Representatives and the Senate and must be signed by the President, except those proposing a constitutional amendment, in order to become law, or be passed over the President's veto by a two-thirds vote of both Houses of Congress. Section 7 of Article I states: ``If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law.'' When a bill or joint resolution is introduced in the House, the usual procedure for its enactment into law is as follows: --assignment to House committee having jurisdiction; --if favorably considered, it is reported to the House either in its original form or with recommended amendments; --if the bill or resolution is passed by the House, it is messaged to the Senate and referred to the committee having jurisdiction; --in the Senate committee the bill, if favorably considered, may be reported in the form as received from the House, or with recommended amendments; --the approved bill or resolution is reported to the Senate, and if passed by that body, is returned to the House; --if one body does not accept the amendments to a bill by the other body, a conference committee comprised of [[Page 32]] Members of both bodies is usually appointed to effect a compromise; --when the bill or joint resolution is finally approved by both Houses, it is signed by the Speaker (or Speaker pro tempore) and the Vice President (or President pro tempore or acting President pro tempore) and is presented to the President; and --once the President's signature is affixed, the measure becomes a law. If the President vetoes the bill, it cannot become a law unless it is re-passed by a two-thirds vote of both Houses. Publications The Congressional Directory, the Senate Manual, and the House Rules and Manual may be obtained from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402.