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of its members; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner and under such penalties, as each house may provide for itself.1 Such a quorum is not in all countries, as it is in all the legislative bodies of our country, a majority of the members. For instance, in the English House of Commons, the number of whose members is six hundred and seventy, the quorum is only forty.
69. Meetings of Congress.-The Constitution requires Congress to meet at least once in every year.2 There are thus two regular sessions during the term of each Congress. One of these sessions is popularly known as the "long" session and the other as the "short" session. Each new Congress ordinarily assembles on the first Monday of December in the odd-numbered years and continues till the following spring or summer. This is the long session. Then, in the even-numbered years, Congress again assembles on the first Monday in December and continues in session until March 4 following, when it must adjourn, its term having expired. This is the short session.
Inasmuch as members of the House of Representatives are elected in November of the even-numbered years, and inasmuch as the then existing Congress does not expire until the following March, a short session intervenes between the election of Representatives and their taking seats. The interval between the election of Representatives and their entering Congress is thus usually thirteen months.
Special sessions may be convened by the President."
1 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 5, Par. 1. 2 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 4, Par. 2.
3 U. S. Const., Art. II., Sect. 3.
70. Power of either House over its Members.Each house is judge of the election, qualifications, and return of its members. It may punish a member for disorderly conduct, and it may, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
71. Journal.-Each house must keep and publish a journal of its proceedings. The yeas and nays must, on any question, when demanded by one fifth of the members. present, be entered on the journal. Likewise, in the case of the reconsideration of a bill vetoed by the President, the names of the persons voting for and against the bill must be entered on the journal of the appropriate house.
72. Adjournment.-Neither house may adjourn during the session of Congress for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which Congress may be sitting, without the consent of the other house.'
73. Privileges and Disabilities of Members of Congress.-Senators and Representatives receive from the United States a compensation determined by law. They are privileged from arrest while attending the sessions of Congress or in going to and from the same, in all cases except treason, felony, and breach of the peace. Their freedom of speech is guaranteed by the provision that a Senator or Representative shall not be questioned in any other place for any speech or debate in either house.
No person holding another office under the United States may be a member of either house while he continues in the former office; and no Senator or Representative shall, during his term, be appointed to any civil office under the United States which shall have been created or its emoluments increased during that time."
1 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 5. 2 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 6.
74. Process of Law Making.-The process of making laws followed by Congress is similar to that followed by the Legislature of California, as described in Section 30, except in one particular. In Congress, it is only necessary that a bill, in order to become a law, shall receive the concurrence of a majority of a quorum in each house, while in the Legislature of California, it is necessary that it receive the concurrence of a majority of all the members elected to each house. The method followed by Congress renders it possible to pass a law by a minority of the members elected. The veto power of the President is similar to that of the Governor. All bills, except those for raising money, may "originate" in either house and may be amended or rejected in the other.
75. Money Bills.-But all bills for raising revenue or appropriating money must, according to the Constitution, originate in the House of Representatives. In making this exception in the case of money bills, the framers of our Constitution were following the practice in England, where it is required that such bills must originate in the House of Commons. The reason for this in England is that the House of Commons represents the people at large, while the House of Lords represents only a particular class, the nobility; therefore, any bill which is to lay a tax on the people or use their money ought to originate with their representatives.
This reason does not hold so strongly in the United States, where both the House of Representatives and the Senate either directly or indirectly represent the people. But the House of Representatives being directly elected by the people, being a more numerous body, and being, in consequence of its short term, more often called to account 1 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 7, Par. 2. 2 U. S. Const., Art. I., Sect. 7, Par. 1.
at the polls, it was considered wise to adopt, in so far, the English custom.
An exception, however, was made in this custom, for while the House of Lords is not allowed to make any amendments to the House of Commons' money bills, permission is given to the Senate to propose what amendments it pleases to money bills that come to it from the House of Representatives.
Questions on Congress.
1. What is the wording of the provision in the Constitution establishing Congress?
2. Is Congress a legislative, executive, or judicial body? What is meant by these terms, respectively?
3. Of how many houses is Congress composed?
4. What is the general distinction between the Senate and the House of Representatives?
5. How many members has the House of Representatives? 6. How is this number determined?
7. How many Representatives has California in the House? 8. Give the names and residences of the Representatives from California now in the House.
9. Draw a map of California, dividing it into congressional districts. In what district do you live? Who is the Representative from your district? With what political party is he connected? Do all the voters of the State vote for the Representative from your district?
10. How many Representatives has the State of Nevada? 11. Who may be elected a Representative?
12. For how long is he elected?
13. When is he elected?
14. What is his salary?
15. Who may vote for Representatives?
16. What is the presiding officer of the House called? Tell what you can of the origin of his title, his duties, etc. What is the name of the present Speaker? Where does he live? To what political party is he attached?
17. How are the standing committees of the House appointed? Describe their duties.
18. How are vacancies in the House filled? 19. How many members has the Senate? 20. How is this number determined?
21. How many United States Senators has California? Give their names, residences, and political party.
22. Who may be elected Senator?
23. For how long is he elected? 24. When is he elected?
25. By whom is he elected?
26. What is his salary?
27. Who is the presiding officer of the Senate? What are his powers and duties?
28. How are the standing committees of the Senate appointed? Describe their duties.
29. How are vacancies in the Senate filled?
30. How many constitute a quorum in either house of Congress? What powers has a minority? How many constitute a quorum in the English House of Commons?
31. How often does Congress meet? When? What is meant by "long," "short," and "special" sessions?
32. Who decides the contest when two persons claim to be elected Senator or Representative?
33. Do the Senate and House keep a record of their proceedings? Is this record published? What is it called?
34. When must the yeas and nays be entered on the journal? 35. What are the provisions in the Constitution regarding adjournment?
36. What are the privileges of Senators and Representatives? 37. What are their disabilities?
38. What special provision is there in the Constitution regarding money bills?
39. Study carefully everything in the Constitution pertaining to the Senate and House of Representatives. Write out all such provisions connectedly in your note book.
THE POWERS OF CONGRESS.
§1. The Legislative Power of the United States.
76. Extent of the Legislative Powers.-All the legislative powers possessed by the federal government are granted to it by the Constitution.' And all the 1 U. S. Const., Amend. X.