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What is Congress?

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We hear a lot of news about Congress. TV commentators tell us everyday how Congress is blocking a bill, how the President isn’t working with Congress, or how the approval ratings of Congress are really bad… but what is Congress exactly?

Let’s travel back to civics class to get a refresher. The Congress is actually made up of two different groups: the House of Representatives and the Senate. A new law can start in either but in order for the bill to pass, it has to get approved by both the House and the Senate. Even if both the House and the Senate pass a bill, the President can block it with a veto.

So what happens when today the Republican party leaders control the House agenda and the Democrat party leaders control the Senate? The Senate has passed lots of bills that are then blocked by the House… and the House has passed lots of bills that are then blocked by the Senate. This gridlock makes the entire Congress look like nothing is getting done.

Because new laws can affect millions of people, the economy, and even our culture the Founding Fathers created a system where it would be difficult to make big changes. In fact, laws that change tax rates or possibly eliminate jobs are hard to pass… and they should be since so many people and their future are affected.

So while the public may get frustrated when laws aren’t getting passed, it’s important to understand that either side can share the blame… whether it’s the folks in the Senate or the people in the House.