Congress 101

Published 5:03 am Wednesday, June 28, 2006

By Staff
Letter to the Editor
The legislative body of the United States of America is called Congress. Congress is comprised of two houses, the House of Representatives and the Senate. This division of Congress is called a BICAMERAL body. Bicameral means two houses; forty-nine of our fifty states have bicameral legislative bodies. The state of Nebraska is the only state with a unicameral body, meaning one house for legislation.
Article, I. Section. 1. of the Constitution of the United States reads as follows:
"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.
Section. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by the people of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the qualification requisite for electors of the most numerous Branch of the State Legislature."
One may ask why have I written this. There are citizens of the United States who do not know this fact, or much about this great document called The Constitution.
We, the people, call members of the House of Representatives, Congressmen, or women as the case may be. This term is incorrect, these people who serve at the discretion of the people, are correctly call Representatives. During the last election for the U.S. House, most of the contenders, in fact all, for this coveted position said they were running for Congress. When I asked one woman which part of Congress was the person for whom she was campaigning was running all she could answer was "Congress". Stating that one is running for Congress is to denote that once in Washington, D.C. the person elected can choose which House he would like the serve, not so. A person runs for either the House or Senate.
All my life I have heard members of the House called "Congressmen", in college taking American History and Political Science classes is when my Ph.D. instructors informed me of the incorrectness of this. Simply because we have always done this does not make it correct. Possibly this miscalling has been done to distinguish between State and Federal representatives. Another primary reason is because of the News Media at all levels. I hear the News Commentators fluctuate between Congressman and Representative. Do not accept everything you read and hear from the News Media as an Absolute. This and ask questions.
I have addressed this situation because of the people who campaign for so-and-so for Congress and cannot state to someone which House. Never make an assumption someone knows, we all know what an assumption does.
On final note – the more you know and understand what our Government is all about, the more educated decisions you can make. The more power you grant to and Government the less power you have. This great nation is a Republic, res publica, law of the people.
Please keep up with what is going on at the Federal, State, County, and City level with you elected officials. We the People of the United States of America have this inherent right. When you vote, vote with knowledge.
I urge each and every one of you the read The Declaration of Independence, The Preamble to the Constitution, The Bill of Rights, and have a copy of The Constitution available for reference.
Remember, a Congressman is correctly called a Representative.
Carolyn S. Settle

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox