The political system in Britain and the USA
The Constitution grants all legislative power to the Congress, which is composed of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. The two houses cooperate on drafting and passing laws, solving matters concerning the national finances (coining money, setting taxes), they regulate commerce, admit new states to the Union, consider and change budget, and many other activities. Today, there are two big parties in the Congress, Democratic and Republican.
The Senate is composed of 100 senators (2 of each state). They are elected for 6 years, every second year 1/3 of the Senators is changed. Candidates must be 30 years old or older and US citizens for at least 9 years.
The official presiding officer is the Vice President. He takes over after the president in case of sickness, death, or any other necessary occasion. The Senate approves the president’s appointments, ratifies foreign treaties by a majority of 2/3, tries the president who has been impeached, proposes and passes amendments of federal laws, etc. There has to be a 2/3 majority of votes for a bill to become a law.
The House of Representatives was established by the Constitution in 1789. It is composed of 435 representatives (Congressmen) who are voted in their congressional districts. Candidates must be 25 years old or older and US citizens for at least 7 years. Congressmen serve for 2 years. The larger the population of the state, the more members of Congress it has. The House of Representatives produces bills relating to taxes and controls the president (criminal actions, election results).
Creating a new law: – everyone (!!!) may draft a bill and seek support of a
Senator or a Representative
1. the bill is introduced in the House or Senate (usually in both simultaneously)
2. then it is passed to a committee for consideration
3. a subcommittee gets it for further study (hearings with experts)
4. the language is reworked and checked, and than the bill is returned back to Senate or House
5. the bill is inserted in the calendar and than debated, amended and put to the vote (if it was introduced in only one house it goes to the other – it has to pass through both houses)
6. it goes to the President – he can sign it or veto it and return unsigned with a statement of his objection
The Congress can override the presidential veto with a 2/3 majority vote in both chambers