Transcript – The Three branches of Government

Transcript – The Three branches of Government
Transcript – The Three branches of Government

The Three Branches of Government: How They Function

(this is the transcript of the video at the right bottom of this page.) The three branches of government are defined in the Constitution of the United States. The Constitution was made as a framework for the federal government of the United States of America. It says that the government should be separated into three separate branches. The three branches are:
  • the executive branch which includes the president;
  • the legislative branch which includes Congress;
  • the judicial branch which includes the Supreme Court.

The American system of government was created by our founding fathers so that no one branch of the government would be more powerful than the other. First, the legislative branch makes the law. Second, The executive branch execute the law. Last, the judicial branch interprets the law.

Each branch performed separate functions and checks the other branches functions in different ways. They each have an effect on one another.

Perhaps most importantly every branch must respond to the will of the American people.

That is a powerful statement. So what does each branch do and what kind of checks and balances are made on each branch.

The Congress

Let’s start with a look at the legislative branch of the u.s. government and what are the roles and responsibilities as a legislative branch. Remember this is a branch of the government that makes laws. They are the group of people known as Congress.  Congress is divided into two parts:  the House of Representatives and the Senate. In the House of Representatives all states are represented and the number of Representatives is determined by that state’s population. As of now (1992), the state of California holds the most number of representatives at 53 since it is also the most populous state in America. Currently a total of 435 representatives serve a term of two years. There is no limit to how many times they can get reelected. Every two years there is usually over a hundred representatives running for reelection.

I’s hard to understand all the reasons why someone would run for a position in the House of Representatives. Some run because they feel like it is their civic duty. Others run in order to change a policy. Some run in hopes of stepping into a political position higher up eventually.

There are three requirements that a person must fulfill in order to run for election in the House of Representatives. These requirements are found in the US Constitution.

  1. You must be a minimum of 25 years old at the time of induction.
  2. You must be a resident of the state in which our district resides.
  3. You must have been a US citizen for seven years prior to induction.
These are just the technical requirements to be in the house representatives. Most candidates for Congress are well respected and upstanding members within their communities. They usually have at least some political experience either on the local or state level. The Speaker of the House of Representatives is elected by the members of the house. Typically the speaker is a leader of the majority party and is the controlling officer of the chamber.

The principal role of the House of Representatives

is to submit national legislation that encompasses the entire country. They vote on revenue and tax laws. A bill must be approved by the Senate as well as the president of the united states in order for it to be carried out as a law. However if the president declines or beetles the bill then Congress can resubmit it if they get at least two-thirds of the majority in both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Along with initiating bills, the house representatives can also impeach government officials if there is a reason to. The house can also choose a president at the Electoral College if it is stuck in a deadlock tie. The House of Representatives has a huge power in their job description of regulating the country’s government. The house representatives holds their sessions in the south wing of the United States Capitol.

The Senate

In the Senate all states are represented equally by two senators regardless of the population in the state. The members server term of six years. These terms are staggered so that approximately one-third of the seats are up for election every two years. That way everyone is not running for election at the same time. The requirements in the US Constitution for a person to run for election into the Senate are:
  1. You must be a US citizen for at least nine years when elected to the Senate.
  2. You must be at least 30 years of age.
  3. You must be a resident of the state that the senator represents.
These are just a legal requirement. Typically a u.s. senator has had previous political experience before being elected though this is definitely not a prerequisite. The Vice-President of the United States presides over the Senate. Other Senate leadership includes the President Pro tempore who leads the Senate in the absence of the vice president. A majority leader who appoints members to lead and serve on various committees and a minority leader. The majority party is the political party, the Republican or Democrat,  that have the majority of the seats or spots in center. If for some reason there is a tie,  the vice president’s political affiliation determines the majority party. The next largest party is known as a minority party. The President Pro tempore, the committee chairs and some other officials are generally from the majority party. Both parties,  majority and minority, also have a person called a whip who helps organize the Senators votes along political party lines.

Main function

The main function of the Senate is to look at decisions that the president has made and decide if they agree with the president. while the House of Representatives has the power to suggest impeachment of the president.  The Senate is the court once the impeachment goes to trial with a two-thirds majority. The Senate can remove an official from office. The Senate also investigates matters of national interest. Iin the past these matters have ranged from the Watergate break-in to organized crime to the Vietnam War. The chamber of the United States Senate is located in the north wing of the capitol in washington, DC, the nation’s capital. The Senate is commonly the more deliberative of the two chambers of Congress. A debate on the floor may go on indefinitely or at least until every senator has said everything they want to say on an issue. Some seem to talk forever. This is called a filibuster, a delay from further action by debating a topic at length. The only way to end a filibuster is through a motion of closure which requires the vote of 60 senators.

The Senate and house of representatives differences

The president of the united states may be the one who negotiates treaties and agreements with other countries but the Senate must approve them in order for them to take effect. The major differences between a representative and a senator other than technical requirements is Senator votes whether or not to confirm the president’s judicial nominees. Representatives do not have this right or responsibility. The house of representatives can introduce bills that raise revenue like tax bills. Senators are restricted from doing so. They are permitted to introduce other types of bills. However the Senate is permitted to reject or make amendments to the representative bills. Representatives are responsible for choosing the president in the event that the Electoral College is unable to provide a decision. The Senate does not take part in that. On the other hand they may be called on to vote for vice president if the electoral vote is tied. Representatives are expected to vote on whether or not begin the impeachment process. The Senate holds trials for impeach public officials.