If you are paying any attention to the news, we just got a real-life example of how the three branches of government operate to safeguard our constitutional freedoms. The presidential branch (branch numero uno) signed an executive order (the temporary ban on immigration from seven specific countries), and the judicial branch (branch numero dos) blocked it from becoming a reality. We know this is a hot button topic, but we aren’t here to talk about our feeling on the subject matter. We’re here to talk about how cool it is that our forefathers put these safeguards in place to prevent any single body from having too much authority. But what we really want to delve into is the third piece of the puzzle: What is legislative government?
If you are asking yourself what is legislative government, and why does it matter as much as the POTUS (President of the United States) or the SCOTUS (Supremem Court of the United States), you’ve come to the right place! Below, we answer all of your questions, from, “What is legislative government?” to “What is the meaning of life?” (okay, maybe not that one… but hopefully we have enough information to help you gain a conversational grasp of the federal legislative history that makes the framework of our countries.)
Frequently Asked Questions About the Legislative Branch of Government
- What is legislative government?
The legislative branch of government is responsible for making federal statutes and regulations for our country. Sometimes that means changing or amending laws that are already in place. Sometimes that involves voting over whether or not to declare war on another country. Sometimes that involves approving presidential appointments (or as we’ve seen lately… filibustering while opponents of a presidential appointment tries to convince legislators who are in favor of said appointee to come to the other side of the aisle). Some say the devil is in the details, we say the legislative branch is in the details that govern our country.
- How is the legislative branch composed?
Here’s another little safeguard that our forefathers put in place: they want all states to be represented when laws and decisions were made. However, some states are really big and some states are really small. They big states said they should have more representation, so the number of votes they get are weighted by the number of Americans. But the small states complained that it would drown out their voices, and all of the decisions would favor larger populated areas. To fix this imbalance of power, legislature is composed of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The House holds a number of representatives per state that is tied to the population of their state, while the Senate holds two representatives per state, regardless of their size.
- How does the Senate and the House of Representatives work together to create a law?
When a new piece of legislative law is introduced in either chamber, it is hashed out and debated and (possibly) voted on. If the piece of legislation gets through one chamber, it goes through the same process in the second chamber. Sometimes a piece of legislation gets altered when it goes through the second chamber, and no longer has the same shape as the law that originally passed. In this case, it goes back through the first chamber to be vetted again before becoming a law.
- Who runs the legislative branch of government?
As the House of Representatives has 435 members, and the Senate has 100 members, it would be madness without a chief to keep the whole circus in line. To maintain organization, the Senate is run by the Vice President of the United States, and the House of Representatives is managed by the Speaker of the House. These important roles control what is discussed and who speaks and how long it is discussed. Most importantly, if there were ever a tie in any of the votes in either chamber (such as the tied vote to approve the President’s Secretary of Education appointee last week, which we referenced above), it is the chamber leader who breaks the tie.
Do you have any other questions about our legislative process? Please share them in the comment section below!