Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is a member of the House of Representatives. She represents the state of New York in Congress and has served in that capacity since 2019.
The House of Representatives forms part of the legislative branch of the government.
It consists of 435 members. Citizens of the state elect these members in Congressional elections.
Members of the House are elected in proportion to the population of their home states. It means that some states have greater representation than others.
Currently, the state of California has the greatest number of representatives. It has 53 members. Multiple states have just a single member, which is reflective of the population size in those states.
So, when is AOC up for reelection?
If she decides to run for office, AOC is up for reelection on November 8th, 2022. The Constitution of the United States provides that a congressional term lasts two years. Members of the House of Representatives take office on January 3rd after being sworn in by the Speaker.
Duties and Role of Roles of Congress
The United States of America has three branches, as provided for by the Constitution. These branches are the Judiciary, Legislature, and the Executive.
The legislative branch of the government is composed of two houses. The existence of two houses makes the legislative branch of the government a bicameral body.
So, who makes up Congress? Congress consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate.
The House of Representatives consists of 435 elected officials who serve 2-year terms. On the other hand, the Senate consists of two elected officials from each state. There are 100 senators, bringing the number of congress members to 535. Senators serve six-year terms.
What role does Congress play in government?
Making federal laws is the primary duty of Congress. Members of the house sit and discuss bills before they ascend into laws. Special groups, known as Congressional house committees, normally create some laws.
Laws created in Congress take supersede all state laws. As per the Constitution of the United States, Congress is the highest law-making authority in the land.
Part of the primary role of Congress is representation. The citizens of their respective states elect members who serve in the legislature. The composition of the House of Representatives is indicative of the population of each member state.
2. Budgeting role
The United States Constitution provides that Congress is responsible for the federal budget. The boundaries for fiscal expenditure and the allocation of funds to different state departments are the responsibility of Congress.
The Constitution also grants that Congress is the only body to originate and pass money bills. These are legislations related to fiscal monetary policy.
3. Declaration of war
No other authority, not even the Commander in Chief, has the authority to declare war. Congress is the only body that can do this through a special resolution. A special resolution requires approval by a 75% majority from members of the bicameral house.
4. Impeachment power
The Constitution of the United States establishes checks and balances among members of the different branches of the government. Congress can, therefore, impeach members of the Executive branch of government and the Judiciary.
Congress can impeach the president and federal judges following gross abuse of office. Senate does the trial.
The Process of Legislation
The primary duty of the House of Representatives is to make federal laws. The process in which laws are made is the legislative process. No other branch of government has the authority to make or amend existing laws.
So, how does the legislative process work? Let us find out.
Stage 1: Drafting bills
The first step in the legislative process involves drafting bills. A member of Congress sponsors a bill in the house.
The bill can be drafted either by a member of the House of Representatives or by a serving senator. It is not uncommon for lobby groups to sponsor bills to Congress.
Stage 2: Introduction of bills
Bills are introduced to Congress depending on the floor on which it is drafted. Bills drafted by members of the house are introduced in the lower house. Bills that senators drafted will be introduced in Senate.
Stage 3: Initial committee hearing
In Congress, there are particular groups known as congressional committees. These committees are divided based on particular areas of interest.
Examples of congressional committees are the Education and Labor Committee, Budget Committee, Energy and Commerce Committee, Appropriations Committee, Ethics committee, etc.
The committee makes relevant changes to the bills.
Stage 4: Review Stage
At the review stage, experts scrutinize the bill and make necessary changes. Once the review is complete, the bill goes back to the congressional committee.
Stage 5: Committee voting stage
On review, the congressional committee holds a vote to determine whether the bill will make it to the house floor. The bill goes to the floor once the congressional committee members have passed a simple resolution.
Stage 6: Voting
Members of the house in which the bill originated vote on whether to pass the bill. Other Members of the House may make amendments during the stage. The bill will go through if the floor of the particular house passes a special resolution.
Stage 7: 2nd Voting stage
Once the bill has cleared one chamber, it is referred to the other. The bill will have to go through the entire process, from the introduction to voting. If the bill passes by a special resolution in both houses, it is ready for assent.
Stage 8: Presidential assent
The president signs the bill into law. The president may also fail to sign the bill, but it automatically becomes federal law once ten days have elapsed.
The president may exercise veto power over any bill. If it happens, the bill goes back to Congress for amendments.
How Does Congress Overturn a Veto?
Congress can overturn a presidential veto through a special resolution. If 75% of the congress members vote to keep the bill, it automatically becomes law.
The Senate is also referred to as the upper house. It consists of 100 members. Each state of the United States has two senators who serve a six-year term instead of the two-year term served by members of the House of Representatives.
The Constitution provides for the existence of the Senate under Section 1. It is part of the bicameral system of the legislature. Aside from legislation, the Senate in the United States has unique powers and responsibilities.
Roles and Duties of the United States Senate
What are the roles of the Senate? The US Senate is expressly granted the responsibility of advice and consent. Here are some of the roles:
1. Approving treaties
The Senate sits to approve or reject any treaty before the Executive signs it. It helps to keep the Executive branch in check by authenticating any international US agreement. For a treaty to come into effect, it must go through Senate for ratification.
Treaties are approved after the Senate passes a special resolution.
2. Approving the appointment of federal judges
The Senate has the responsibility of approving all federal judge appointments. It includes judges who serve in the Judicial service. The Senate also approves the chief justice, the head of the government’s judicial arm.
By making such approvals, the Senate fulfills its responsibility of keeping both the Judiciary and Executive in check.
3. Holding impeachment trials
The Senate is responsible for holding trials for the president and other public officials. Once the House of Representatives passes the motion for impeachment, it is referred to the Senate.
The Senate then proceeds to hold trials and listen to the defendant’s evidence. If they are satisfied that there was an abuse of office, the Senate impeaches the public office holder.
4. Approving the appointment of ambassadors
The Senate is responsible for approving or rejecting ambassadors of the United States to foreign countries.
They vet the appointments and give the green light for such appointments. The Senate may also reject the ambassadors if they have sufficient reasons.
5. Vetting presidential nominees
Any person appointed by the president to a public office has to undergo vetting in the Senate.
The Constitution of the United States states sets limits on the terms of Members of Congress to two years. Each Congressional district is allowed to have representatives proportional to the size of its population.
Members of the House of Representatives can run for office as many times as they wish. The members of the Senate can also do the same. Members of the Senate enjoy longer terms in office, with the term limits set at six years.
The Congressional office held by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will fall vacant this year. The election date is November 8th, 2022.