Citizens of the United States vote in free elections to choose people to represent them in the U.S. Congress. Congress has the responsibility of making the laws for our nation. Congress is made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
People in each state vote to choose members of the House of Representatives. There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, which is often called "the House." The number of representatives from each state depends on how many people live in that state.
People living in each district vote for someone to represent their district in the House. Each representative serves for two years, and then people have another chance to vote for them or for a different person to represent them. Representatives can serve in Congress for an unlimited period of time.
There are five additional members in the House. These are the representatives of the District of Columbia, the commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and the territories of Guam, American Samoa, and the U.S.Virgin Islands. They may participate in debates, but they cannot participate in the formal votes of the entire House.
The House of Representatives makes laws, but it has some special responsibilities. Only the House of Representatives can:
There are 100 senators in the U.S. Senate. People in each state vote to choose two senators to represent them in Congress. Senators serve for six years, and then people have another chance to vote for them or for a different person to represent them. Senators can serve in Congress for an unlimited period of time. Senators make laws, but they also have special responsibilities.
Only the Senate can: