uses current events as a platform to teach civics, with emphasis on the U.S. Constitution. I clarify the history, rationale, policies, and procedures surrounding government operations and events, relating civics to real life. I don’t report the news. I explain it.
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Sunday, January 6, 2013
The 113th Congress Opens for Business
Just What is a “Congress”
Every two years, Congress reboots. Like a bright New Year’s
Day, it’s fresh, and clean, and brief. The 113th Congress assembled on
Thursday, January 3 – a day for family and tradition, smiles and handshakes.
They’ll return to the backstabbing soon enough.
For some reason, many Americans think that “Congress” is only
the House of Representatives. It is not. Article I, Section 1 of the United
States Constitution says:
All legislative Powers
herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House
That means that Congress makes the national laws and authorizes
all federal spending. Yes, that’s right. The president can’t spend a dime
without Congressional approval.
The Constitution requires that a new "Congress"
convene every two years. In even-numbered years, every one of the 435 House
seats and one-third of the 100 Senate seats, called a “class”, are up for
election in November. The new Congress opens early in the following January.
There are two sessions of each Congress; each lasts one year. The first
Congress was elected in 1788 and assembled in 1789. The 112th
Congress officially closed at noon on Thursday, January 3, 2013 and the 113th
Congress opened moments later. The second session of the 113th will
open in January 2014.