establishes the first of the three branches of the government, the Legislature.
establishes the name of the Legislature to be The Congress, a bicameral, or
defines the House of Representatives, known as the lower house of Congress. It
establishes a few minimum requirements, like a 25-year-old age limit, and establishes
that the people themselves will elect the members for two years each. The members of
the House are divided among the states proportionally, or according to size, giving more
populous states more representatives in the House. The leader of the House is the Speaker
of the House, chosen by the members.
defines the upper house of Congress, the Senate. Again, it establishes some
minimum requirements, such as a 30-year-old age limit. Senators were originally
appointed by the legislatures of the individual states, though this later changed. They
serve for six years each. Each state has equal suffrage in the Senate, meaning that each
state has the exact same number of Senators, two each, regardless of the population. This
Section introduces the Vice-President, who is the leader of the Senate (called the
President of the Senate); the Vice-President does not vote unless there is a tie.
says that each state may establish its own methods for electing members of the
Congress, and mandates, or requires, that Congress must meet at least once per year.
says that Congress must have a minimum number of members present in order
to meet, and that it may set fines for members who do not show up. It says that members
may be expelled, that each house must keep a journal to record proceedings and votes,
and that neither house can adjourn without the permission of the other.
establishes that members of Congress will be paid, that they cannot be detained
while traveling to and from Congress, that they cannot hold any other office in the
government while in the Congress.
details how bills become law. First, any bill for raising money (such as by taxes
or fees) must start out in the House. All bills must pass both houses of Congress in the
exact same form. Bills that pass both houses are sent to the President. He can either sign
the bill, in which case it becomes law, or he can veto it. In the case of a veto, the bill is
sent back to Congress, and if both houses pass it by a two-thirds majority, the bill
becomes law over the President's veto. This is known as overriding a veto.
There are a couple more options for the President. First, if he neither vetoes a bill nor
signs it, it becomes a law without his signature after 10 days. The second option is called
a pocket veto. It occurs if Congress sends the bill to the President and they then adjourn.
If the President does not sign the bill within 10 days, it does not become law.