Legislative Branch

Established in Article I of the Constitution, the legislative branch has both the power and duty to legislate: make or enact laws. Commonly known as Congress, the legislature is often described as the centerpiece of national representative democracy because the people elect legislators.

Congress has two parts. The House of Representatives, elected in proportion to the population of each state, and the Senate, which represents states equally. Legislators elected to the House of Representatives serve in 2-year terms, while elected senators serve in 6-year terms.  While there are only two senators per state, the number of legislators elected to the House of Representatives varies per state as it is determined by population.

According to the Constitution, the enumerated powers of Congress include the ability to make laws, lay and collect taxes, regulate both interstate and foreign commerce, declare war, and make all laws necessary and proper to carry out the enumerated powers.