We explore the structure and procedures of the two houses of Congress through a series of reading worksheets.

The Congress is made up of two parts the House of Representatives and the Senate. The number of members of the House of Representatives is decided by the size of the population. The House was put in place to represent the interests of the people of each district of a State. Every state, regardless of size, has two senators. Senators are put in place to represent the interest of the State as a whole. Another interesting measure of difference between the two is that you need to be five years older (30 years of age) to be a Senator.

This treasure trove of reading worksheets looks at the arm of government that is in charge of debating and determining the laws that us everyday folks must follow. We look at the difference and similarities found between the two heads of Congress: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

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Print Legislative Branch Worksheets

Click the buttons to print each worksheet and associated answer key.

Legislative Branch Reading Passage

The powers of this branch of the government also include declaring war, confirming Presidential appointments, and investigating abuses of power across all the branches of the government.

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Legislative Branch - Multiple Choice Questions

The steps involved in order for Congress to make a law are as follows. First, someone must write a bill.

The House of Representatives

The House of Representatives is composed of representatives from every state.

The House of Representatives - Short Answer Questions

How many Representative are in the House today? Why?

The Senate

The Senate is one of the two bodies of the legislative branch of government that is also known as Congress.

QUESTIONS: The Senate

Every state has the same number of Senators: two. Senators serve six-year terms.

Debates and Filibusters

One of the jobs of the legislative branch of government (also called Congress) is to create laws.

QUESTIONS: Debates and Filibusters

A debate is a formal discussion in which both sides (those for and those against) an issue (in this case a proposed new law) present their arguments.

Making Laws

Every law starts out as an idea. Ideas for laws come in from all over the country.

QUESTIONS: Making Laws

The bill is then turned over to a smaller group of people called a committee that has some subject matter expertise regarding whatever the bill is about.

The Veto Reading Passage

The President may think that the proposed new law is not a good idea, or that it is not necessary.

QUESTIONS: The Veto

Sometimes a bill gets all the way to the President, but the President does not want the bill to become a law.

Committees

A committee is a small group of people made up of members of congress who are experts in certain subjects.

QUESTIONS: Committees

The status of live bills and updates on major actions taken on each bill are posted to the Congress Bill Search, a Library of Congress website.

Sponsors Reading Worksheet

Every law starts out as an idea. The President, members of Congress, special interest groups, and even regular citizens can have an idea for a new law.

Sponsors - Short Answer Questions

The sponsor of a bill is a Member of Congress who accepts primary responsibility for presenting the bill to the House or Senate.

Establishment of the Branch

Delegates from smaller states were afraid that if Congress was composed in that way, that the larger, more populated states would dominate the federal government and that they would have undue influence at the expense of the smaller states' interests.

Establishment of the Branch- Multiple Choice Questions

Article I of the Constitution grants Congress the powers to regulate commerce, pass laws, lay taxes, establish Post Offices and post roads, and to "define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas."

British Influences on the U.S. House

The conception of the U.S. House of Representatives has its roots in British law.

British Influences on the U.S. House - Short Answer

Where did the U.S. House of Representatives stray from the British model?