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United states house of representatives

The meaning of «united states house of representatives»

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, with the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States.

The House's composition is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of representatives who sit in congressional districts allocated to each state on a basis of population as measured by the U.S. Census, with each district having one representative, provided that each state is entitled to at least one. Since its inception in 1789, all representatives have been directly elected. The number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435.[1] If enacted, the DC Admission Act would permanently increase the number of representatives to 436.[2] In addition, there are currently six non-voting members, bringing the total membership of the House of Representatives to 441[3] or fewer with vacancies. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with 53 representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.[4]

The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the president for consideration. The House also has exclusive powers: it initiates all revenue bills, impeaches federal officers, and elects the president if no candidate receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College.[5][6] The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol.

The presiding officer is the Speaker of the House, who is elected by the members thereof (and is the leader of the majority party). The Speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members.

Under the Articles of Confederation, the Congress of the Confederation was a unicameral body with equal representation for each state, any of which could veto most actions. After eight years of a more limited confederal government under the Articles, numerous political leaders such as James Madison and Alexander Hamilton initiated the Constitutional Convention in 1787, which received the Confederation Congress's sanction to "amend the Articles of Confederation". All states except Rhode Island agreed to send delegates.

Congress's structure was a contentious issue among the founders during the convention. Edmund Randolph's Virginia Plan called for a bicameral Congress: the lower house would be "of the people", elected directly by the people of the United States and representing public opinion, and a more deliberative upper house, elected by the lower house, that would represent the individual states, and would be less susceptible to variations of mass sentiment.[8]

The House is commonly referred to as the lower house and the Senate the upper house, although the United States Constitution does not use that terminology. Both houses' approval is necessary for the passage of legislation. The Virginia Plan drew the support of delegates from large states such as Virginia, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania, as it called for representation based on population. The smaller states, however, favored the New Jersey Plan, which called for a unicameral Congress with equal representation for the states.[8]

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