George Washington by Gilbert Stuart

Legislative Branch


The legislative branch, also called Congress, is the first branch of government established in the U.S. Constitution and is responsible for creating and passing laws. Additionally, Congress is responsible for creating an annual budget, taxing citizens, and declaring war. Congress is split into two parts—the House of Representatives and the Senate. The House of Representatives is currently made up of 435 representatives from the 50 states. Each state receives a different number of representatives based on its population. The Senate consists of 100 members, two from each state regardless of population. This system prevents the larger states from having an unfair advantage over the smaller ones.
”All legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.”—The Constitution, Article One, Section One
Representatives are elected every two years, while Senators are elected every six years.

With a 2/3 vote, Congress can overrule the President’s veto.

Congress is a co-equal branch of government with the Judicial and Executive branches. This balance of powers keeps all in check.