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ference, the bill as agreed upon is presented to each House for its approval.




After a bill has been passed by both Houses it is sent to the President. The Constitution provides that “Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senate, shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States ..." The President may approve the entire bill or disapprove it. If the President has not signed the bill within 10 days after it reaches him (not counting Sundays), it becomes a law without his signature. However, if the Congress adjourns in the meantime, the bill does not become a law unless the President signs it within the 10-day limit. This way of preventing a bill from becoming a law is known as the “pocket veto."

If the President vetoes a bill while the Congress is in session, it does not become a law unless each House passes it over the President's veto by a two-thirds vote of its membership

If the President signs the bill it is then sent to the Secretary of State to be given a number. Later the new law is published in the volumes of “Statutes at Large of the United States."

There are thousands of bills introduced at each session of the Congress. Only a small number of them become laws. We must depend on our lawmakers in the Congress to pass the kind of laws which the Nation needs. That is one reason why we should elect able and well-qualified men to represent us.

THE CONGRESS MAY MAKE INVESTIGATIONS A very important practice of the Congress is that of making investigations. Either House may do this. Either House may use one of its regular committees or appoint a special committee to do this work. Sometimes the Houses appoint a "joint committee," consisting of Members from both Houses, to make an investigation.

What is the purpose of such investigations? It may be to study certain conditions which seem to call for new laws. It may

be to find out how the members of the Executive or Judicial Branch are doing their work. It may be to create interest on the part of the people in needed reforms. Sometimes the Congress goes beyond its own Members and employs experts or asks private citizens to supply information. These investigations help to keep the Congress in touch with the real needs of the people so that it can make the laws needed by them.

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THE CONGRESS MUST REPRESENT MANY INTERESTS Every Member of the Congress is called upon to perform many services. He usually tries to follow the program of his political party, since he has been elected through a party organization. He is expected by those who elected him to work for the good of the people of his district and State, since they have selected him to represent them and have delegated to him his authority. And, since he is a member of the national lawmaking body, he is called upon to think of the welfare and needs of all the people of the entire Nation.

There are always special groups of people who represent some one single interest, and who eagerly present their needs and wishes to their Congressmen. But a national lawmaker must try to adjust group interests and make laws which will best serve the greatest possible number of people of the United States.


Questions to discuss in your study group:

1. Why does the National Congress do so much of its work through committees ?

2. Do you think it is important for Members of the Congress to keep in touch with the needs of the people of the Nation? Why?

Complete each of the following:

1. Three subjects upon which the Congress may make laws are:



(3) 2. Two ways in which a committee may dispose of a bill which has been referred to it are:


(2)----3. The Senate and House of Representatives have standing committees on such important affairs as:


(2)----4. Two official actions which the President may take with regard to a bill, when he receives it, are:


(2)----Some more words which the student should understand:

appropriations-acts authorizing the Treasury Department to

pay out money for special uses. by its title—by the short descriptive statement printed at the

beginning of each bill.
counterfeitingmaking imitation money for the purpose of pass-

ing it as good money.
currency-money in use, either coin or paper money.

debate-regulated presentation of arguments in public.
direct taxes—taxes which must be paid by the taxpayer direct.
exports/articles shipped out of a country.
ignore-pay no attention to.


investigations-systematic inquiries. piracy-robbery on the sea. pro tempore-acting for a limited time during the absence of

the regular officer. rebellion-organized resistance of citizens against their govern

ment. repel-drive or force back. Speaker—the officer who presides over the House of Repre

sentatives. suppressput down by force. suspendinterrupt, hinder the enforcing of. writ of habeas corpus-court order requiring that a person named

shall be brought into court so that the judge may decide whether he is being unlawfully deprived of his liberty.



How Our National (Federal) Government Is Organized



“The executive power shall be vested in a President of
the United States of America."
-Second Article of the Federal Constitution.

* In the last two chapters we studied about the Legislative Branch of our Federal Government. We learned how it is organized and how it makes laws. But we can readily understand that no law can be of much value to a government group unless it is, and can be, put into effect and enforced. This is the duty of the Executive Branch of the Government. In this chapter we shall study how the Executive Branch is organized to do its work.



At the beginning of this chapter, you can read the first sentence of the Second Article of the Federal Constitution. It provides that the executive power is vested in (delegated to) a President. It does not give any executive power to a Vice President, or to members of a President's Cabinet, or to other officials. It gives the whole executive power to one official, the President of the United States.

Before the Constitution was adopted, some of the States had their executive power vested in councils of several officers, no one of whom had more power than the others. In the Constitutional Convention, Benjamin Franklin urged that this same arrangement be adopted. The delegates had before them an example in the Swiss Republic, which for many years had been extremely well governed (as it still is) by an executive council. The delegates could also easily remember the danger which the Colonies had hardly

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