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The Non-Legislative Powers. A Positive Lecture Experience Brought To You By Mr. Haskell. The Non-Legislative Powers. The main job of Congress is to make laws. Congress has five other powers. Amending the Constitution.

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The Non-Legislative Powers

A Positive Lecture Experience Brought To You By Mr. Haskell

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The Non-Legislative Powers

  • The main job of Congress is to make laws. Congress has five other powers.

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Amending the Constitution

  • Congress plays a key role in the process of amending, or changing, the Constitution. It can propose a new amendment by a two-thirds vote in each of its houses. Congress has taken this important step 33 times. Some times a State legislature will ask Congress to consider certain amendments.

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Electoral Powers

  • There are times when the Constitution involves Congress in elections. For example, the House steps in if no presidential candidate receives a majority (more than half) of electoral votes. In that case, House members, voting by State, cast their ballots for one of the three highest vote-getters. Similarly, the Senate can vote, by individual Senators, for a Vice President, if no candidate receives a majority of electoral votes. In both cases, the vote must be a majority before the election is decided.

  • The House elected a President two times- Thomas Jefferson in 1801 and John Quincy Adams in 1825. The Senate has elected a Vice President once- Richard M. Johnson in 1837.

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  • The Constitution says that any civil officer can be removed from office. This includes the President and the Vice President. Other parts of the Constitution tell how this is done. The House has the power to impeach, or bring charges against, the officers. The Senate then serves as judge for the trial.

  • The House has used its impeachment power 16 times. That number includes the 1868 impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Of those 16, the Senate has convicted seven. The conviction of President Johnson failed by one vote.

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Executive Powers

  • The Senate can give advice and consent to the executive branch (the President). It approves major presidential appointments with a majority vote. The Senate also okays treaties the President makes with other countries with a two-thirds vote.

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Power to Investigate

  • Congress can look into anything that falls within its legislative powers. It gathers information before voting on bills. It can look at how executive agencies are run. It can point out the questionable activities of a particular person.

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