Friday, October 12, 2012

60-Second good-to-know's - October 12th, 2012

In honor of the Presidential and Vice Presidential debates, let's keep this weeks' theme political.

The United States has a bicameral legislative branch--meaning that congress is composed of two main bodies: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Senators serve 6 years, while congressmen (usually said exclusively in reference to members of the House of Representatives, though Senators are also technically congressmen) serve for only 2.  Unlike the House of Representatives, the senate uses a staggered system in which only one third of the senate face elections at a given time.  The next third will face elections two years later, and the following third, two years later from then.  This was designed in part to moderate any wild and revolutionary sways in public opinion, and to ensure a considerable body of experience within the senate.  Every state has only 2 senators whereas the number of representatives (congressmen) is proportional to the population of the state (with every state guaranteed at least 1 congressmen).  This allotment was chosen in the early history of the United States as a sort of a compromise between the big and small states: the small states were worried about the big states controlling all the decisions of the country, and the big states thought it was unfair that the smaller states would have an equal say despite having fewer people.

As of right now, there is no term limit for either senators or congressmen.

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