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The political system of the USA.
The United States is a constitutional republic. The nation operates as a presidential system also known as a congressional system. The federal government’s power is divided between three branches – the legislative, the executive and the judicial.
Legislative Branch. The legislative branch – the Congress – is made up of elected representatives from each of the 50 states. It is the only branch of U.S. government that can make federal laws, levy federal taxes, declare war, and put foreign treaties into effect. Members of the House of Representatives are elected to two-year terms. Each member represents a district in his or her home state. In all, there are 435 representatives in the House. Senators are elected to six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population. There are 100 senators. To become a law, a bill must pass both the House and the Senate. After the bill is introduced in either body, it is studied by one or more committees, amended, voted out of committee, and discussed in the chamber of the House or Senate. If passed by one body, it goes to the other for consideration. Once both bodies have passed the same version of a bill, it goes to the president for approval.
Executive Branch. The chief executive of the United States is the president, who together with the vice president is elected to a four-year term. As a result of a constitutional amendment that went into effect in 1951, a president may be elected to only two terms. Other than succeeding a president who dies or is disabled, the vice president's only official duty is presiding over the Senate. The vice president may vote in the Senate only to break a tie. The president's powers are formidable but not unlimited. As the chief formulator of national policy, the president proposes legislation to Congress. The president may veto any bill passed by Congress. The president is commander-in-chief of the armed forces. Within the executive branch, the president has broad powers to issue regulations and directives carrying out the work of the federal government's departments and agencies.
Judicial Branch. The judicial branch is headed by the U.S. Supreme Court, which is the only court specifically created by the Constitution. In addition, Congress has established 13 federal courts of appeals and, below them, about 95 federal district courts. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., and the other federal courts are located in cities throughout the United States. The Supreme Court consists of a chief justice and eight associate justices. With minor exceptions, cases come to the Supreme Court on appeal from lower federal or state courts.
Write true or false.
1. The legislative branch – the Congress – is made up of elected representatives from each of the 50 states.
2. Senators are elected to six-year terms.
3. The Supreme Court meets in Washington, D.C., and the other federal courts are located in cities throughout the United States.