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Does your congressman have to live in your district?

J. H. Osborne • Jul 23, 2018 at 1:01 PM

This week’s Civics 101: the United States Congress, the basics.

The election season is heating up for the Congressional races this fall. At stake are 470 seats — 35 Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election.

According to Scholastic:

• “The main power of Congress, as set forth in the U.S. Constitution, is to make laws that, when signed by the president, become the law of the land, governing American life.”

• “Congress also has the responsibility to determine that public policies are being administered by the government in accordance with the law and as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

• “Moreover, because Congress is intended to represent the nation’s citizens, its members are expected to provide assistance and services to their constituents — the people back home in their states and districts.”

• “Congress sometimes is required to perform specialized judicial and electoral functions. It acts as a judicial body in the process of impeachment and removal of the president, and it has the power to choose the president and vice president should no candidate gain a majority of electoral votes following a presidential election.”

• “The United States Constitution restricts the membership of Congress by requiring House members to be 25 years of age and senators 30. House members must have been U.S. citizens for at least seven years, and senators for nine years.”

• “Although members of the House are required only to be inhabitants of their states, and not necessarily residents of the districts from which they are elected, in fact, local residency has become an unwritten, or customary, requirement for success at the polls.”

• “Each state gets one House member regardless of its population. Beyond that the states are given representation in the House of Representatives on the basis of their population. The House is reapportioned every 10 years, after the federal census. Within states, congressional district boundary lines are drawn by the state legislatures. All House members are elected in single-member districts, the total number of which has been set by Congress at 435. Today, each House member has an average of about 600,000 constituents. House members are elected every two years.”

• “The Constitution awards each state two senators. Senators are elected to six-year terms, and one-third of the seats come up for election every two years.”

• “Under pressure from the public to open up its deliberations, the House in 1979 authorized television coverage of its proceedings on C-SPAN, the public-affairs network. The Senate followed suit in 1986.”

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