Kyrgyz State National University



                                                                Ilebaev Emil

                                                     Kasymov Maksat_________

                                Bishkek 2001


In July 1780 France's Louis XVI had sent to America an  expeditionary  force
of 6,000 men under the Comte Jean de Rochambeau.  In  addition,  the  French
fleet harassed British shipping and prevented reinforcement and resuppi^  of
British forces in Virginia by a British fleet sailing from  New  York  City.
French and American armies and navies, totaling  18,000  men,  parried  with
Cornwallis all through the summer and into the  fall.  Finally,  on  October
19, 17B1, after being trapped at Yorktown  near  the  mouth  of  Chesa-peake
Bay, Cornwallis surrendered his army of 8,000 British soldiers.
Although Cornwallis's defeat did not immediately end the war   which  would
drag on inconclusively for almost two more years  a new British  government
decided to pursue peace negotiations  in  Paris  in  early  1782,  with  the
American side represented by Benjamin Franklin, John Adams and John Jay.  On
April 15, 1783, Congress approved the final treaty, and  Great  Britain  and
its former colonies signed it on September 3. Known as the Treaty of  Paris,
the peace settlement acknowledged the independence, freedom and  sovereignty
of the 13 former colonies, now states, to which Great  Britain  granted  the
territory west to the Mississippi  River,  north  to  Canada  and  south  to
Florida, which was returned to Spain. The fledgling  colonies  that  Richard
Henry Lee had spoken of more than seven years  before,  had  finally  become
"free and independent states." The task of knitting together  a  nation  yet


      During the war, the states had agreed to work together by sending
representatives to a national congress patterned after the "Congress of
Delegates" that conducted the war with England. It would raise money to pay
off debts of the war, establish a money system and deal with foreign
nations in making treaties. The agreement that set up this plan of
cooperation was called the Articles of Confederation. work together? They
believed that the Congress needed more power.
      The plan for the government was written in very simple language in a
document called the Constitution of the United Slates. The Constitution set
up a federal system with a strong central government. A federal system is
one in which power is shared between a central authority and its
constituent parts, with some rights reserved to each. The Constitution also
called for the election of a national leader, or president.
      Two main fears shared by most Americans: one fear was that one person
or group, including the majority, might become too powerful or be able to
seize control of the country and create a tyranny, another fear was that
the new central government might weaken or take away the power of the state
governments to run their own affairs. To deal with this the Constitution
specified exactly what power central government had and which power was
reserved for the states.
      Representatives of various states noted that the Constitution did not
have any words guaranteeing the freedoms or the basic rights and privileges
of citizens. Though the Convention delegates did not think it necessary to
include such explicit guarantees, many people felt that they needed further
written protection against tyranny. So, a "Bill of Rights" was added to the

                             The Bill of Rights
        The first 10 amendments to the Constitution and their purpose

|Amendment 1 |Freedom of religion, speech, press, and assembly; the   |
|            |right to petition government                            |
|                                                                     |
|Amendment 2 |Right to bear arms and maintain state militias (National|
|            |Guard).                                                 |
|Amendment 3 |Troops may not be quartered in homes in peacetime.      |
|                                                                     |
|Amendment 4 |No unreasonable searches or seizures.                   |
|Amendment 5 |Grand jury indictment required to prosecute a person for|
|            |a serious crime. No double jeopardy  being tried     |
|            |twice for the same offence. Forcing a person to testify |
|            |against himself or herself prohibited. No loss of life, |
|            |liberty or property without due process.                |
|Amendment 6 |Right to speedy, public, impartial trial with defense   |
|            |counsel, and right to cross-examine witnesses.          |
|Amendment 7 |Jury trials in civil suits where value exceeds 20       |
|            |dollars.                                                |
|Amendment 8 |No excessive bail or fines, no cruel and unusual        |
|            |punishments.                                            |
|                                                                     |
|Amendment 9 |Unlisted rights are not necessarily denied.             |
|Amendment 10|Powers not delegated to the United States or denied to  |
|            |states are reserved to the states or to the people.     |

      The Bill of Rights was ratified in1791, but its application as
broadened significantly by the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, which
was ratified in 1868. A key phrase in the 14th Amendment  nor shall any
state deprive any person of life, liberty or property, without due process
of law  has been interpreted by the Supreme Court as forbidding the
states from violating most of the rights and freedoms protected by the Bill
of Rights.

                            THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH

   At a time when all the major European states  had  hereditary  monarchs,
the  idea  of  a  president  with  a  limited  term  of  office  was  itself
revolutionary. The Constitution vests the executive power in the  president.
It also provides for the election of a vice president who  succeeds  to  the
presidency in case of  the  death,  resignation  or  incapacitation  of  the
president. While the Constitution spells out in some detail the  duties  and
powers of the president, it does not delegate any specific executive  powers
to the vice president or to members of the presidential Cabinet or to  other
federal officials.
   Creation of a  powerful  unitary  presidency  was  the  source  of  some
contention  in  the  Constitutional  Convention.  Several  states  had   had
experience with executive councils made up  of  several  members,  a  system
that had been followed with considerable  success  by  the  Swiss  for  some
years. And Benjamin Franklin urged that a similar system be adopted  by  the
United States. Moreover, many delegates, still smarting under  the  excesses
of executive power wielded by the British king,  were  wary  of  a  powerful
presidency. Nonetheless, advocates of  a  single  presidentoperating  under
strict checks and balancescarried the day.
   In addition to a right of succession, the vice president  was  made  the
presiding officer of the Senate. A constitutional amendment adopted in  1967
amplifies the process of presidential succession. It describes the  specific
conditions under which the vice president is  empowered  to  take  over  the
office of president if the president should become  incapacitated.  It  also
provides for resumption of the office by the president in the event  of  his
or her recovery. In addition, the amendment enables the president to name  a
vice president, with congressional  approval,  when  the  second  office  is
vacated. This 25th Amendment to  the  Constitution  was  put  into  practice
twice in 1974: when Vice President Spiro T. Agnew resigned and was  replaced
by Gerald R. Ford; and when, after President  Richard  Nixon's  resignation,
President Ford nominated and Congress confirmed  former  New  York  governor
Nelson A. Rockefeller as vice president.
   The Constitution gives Congress the power  to  establish  the  order  of
succession after the vice president. At  present,  in  the  event  both  the
president and vice president vacate their offices, the speaker of the  House
of Representatives would assume the presidency.  Next  comes  the  president
pro tempore of the Senate (a senator elected by that body to preside in  the
absence of the vice president), and  then  Cabinet  officers  in  designated
   The seat of government, which moved in 1800  to  Washington,  D.C.  (the
District of Columbia), is a federal enclave on  the  eastern  seaboard.  The
White House, both residence and office of the president, is  located  there.
Although land for the federal capital was ceded by the  states  of  Maryland
and Virginia, the present District of Columbia occupies only the area  given
by Maryland; the Virginia sector,  unused  by  the  government  for  half  a
century, reverted to Virginia in 1846.

|                                                                           |
|THE PRESIDENCY                                                             |
|TERM OF OFFICE: |Elected by the people, through the electoral college, to a|
|                |four-year term; limited to two terms.                     |
|SALARY:         |$200,000 plus $50,000 allowance for expenses, and up to   |
|                |$100,000 tax-free for travel and official entertainment   |
|INAUGURATION:   |January 20, following the November general election       |
|QUALIFICATIONS: |Native-born American citizen, at least 35 years old and at|
|                |least 14 years a resident of the United States.           |
|CHIEF DUTY:     |To protect the Constitution and enforce the laws made by  |
|                |the Congress.                                             |
|OTHER POWERS:   |To recommend legislation to the Congress; to call special |
|                |sessions of the Congress; to deliver messages to the      |
|                |Congress; to veto bills; to appoint federal judges; to    |
|                |appoint heads of federal departments and agencies and     |
|                |other principal federal officials; to appoint             |
|                |representatives to foreign countries; to carry on official|
|                |business with foreign nations; to exercise the function of|
|                |commander-in-chief of the armed forces; to grant pardons  |
|                |for offenses against the United States.                   |

   The Constitution requires the president to  be  a  native-born  American
citizen at least 35 years of age. Candidates for the presidency  are  chosen
by political parties several months before the presidential election,  which
is held every four years (in years divisible evenly by four)  on  the  first
Tuesday after the first Monday in November.
   The method of electing the president is peculiar to the American system.
Although the names of the candidates appear on the ballots, technically  the
people of each state do not  vote  directly  for  the  president  (and  vice
president). Instead, they select a slate of presidential electors, equal  to
the number of senators and representatives each state has in  Congress.  The
candidate with the highest number of  votes  in  each  state  wins  all  the
electoral votes of that state.
   The electors of all 50 states and the District of Columbiaa total of
538 personscompose what is known as the Electoral College. Under the terms
of the Constitution, the College never meets as a body. Instead, the
electors gather in the state capitals shortly after the election and cast
their votes for the candidate with the largest number of popular votes in
their respective states. To be successful, a candidate for the presidency
must receive 270 votes. The Constitution stipulates that if no candidate
has a majority, the decision shall be made by the House of Representatives,
with all members from a state voting as a unit. In this event, each state
and the District of Columbia would be allotted one vote only.
   The presidential term of four years begins on January 20 (it was changed
from March by the 20th Amendment, ratified in  1933)  following  a  November
election.  The  president  starts  his  or  her  official  duties  with   an
inauguration ceremony, traditionally held on the steps of the U.S.  Capitol,
where Congress meets'. The president  publicly  takes  an  oath  of  office,
which is traditionally administered by  the  chief  justice  of  the  United
States. The words are prescribed in Article II of the Constitution:
   / do solemnly swear (or affirm)  that  I  will  faithfully  execute  the
office of President of the United  States,  and  will  to  the  best  of  my
ability, preserve,  protect  and  defend  the  Constitution  of  the  United
   The oath-taking ceremony is usually followed by an inaugural address in
which the new president outlines the policies and plans of his or her

The office of President of the United States is one of the most powerful  in
the world. The president, the Constitution says, must "take  care  that  the
laws be faithfully executed." To carry out this responsibility,  he  or  she
presides  over  the  executive  branch  of  the  federal  governmenta  vast
organization numbering several million peopleand in addition has  important
legislative and judicial powers.

Despite the Constitutional provision that "all legislative powers" shall  be
vested in the Congress, the president, as the  chief  formulator  of  public
policy, has a major legislative  role.  The  president  can  veto  any  bill
passed by Congress and, unless two-thirds in each  house  vote  to  override
the veto, the bill does not become law. Much of the legislation  dealt  with
by Congress is drafted at the initiative of  the  executive  branch.  In  an
annual  and  special  messages  to  Congress,  the  president  may   propose
legislation he or she believes is  necessary.  If  Congress  should  adjourn
without acting on those proposals, the president has the power  to  call  it
into special session. But, beyond all this, the  president,  as  head  of  a
political party and as principal executive officer of the  U.S.  government,
is in a position to influence public opinion and thereby  to  influence  the
course of legislation in Congress. To improve  their  working  relationships
with Congress, presidents in  recent  years  have  set  up  a  Congressional
Liaison Office in the White House. Presidential aides keep  abreast  of  all
important  legislative  activities  and  try  to   persuade   senators   and
representatives of both parties to support administration policies.

Among the president's constitutional powers is that of appointing important
public officials; presidential nomination of federal judges, including
members of the Supreme Court, is subject to confirmation by the Senate.
Another significant power is that of granting a full or conditional pardon
to anyone convicted of breaking a federal lawexcept in a case of
impeachment. The pardoning power has come to embrace the power to shorten
prison terms and reduce fines.

Within the executive branch  itself,  the  president  has  broad  powers  to
manage national affairs and the workings  of  the  federal  government.  The
president can issue rules, regulations  and  instructions  called  executive
orders, which have the binding  force  of  law  upon  federal  agencies.  As
commander-in-chief of the armed forces of the United States,  the  president
may also call into federal service the state units of  the  National  Guard.
In times of war or national emergency, the Congress may grant the  president
even broader powers to manage the national economy and protect the  security
of the United States.
   The president  chooses  the  heads  of  all  executive  departments  and
agencies, together with hundreds of other  high-ranking  federal  officials.
The large majority of federal workers, however,  are  selected  through  the
Civil Service system, in  which  appointment  and  promotion  are  based  on
ability and experience

Under the Constitution, the president  is  the  federal  official  primarily
responsible for the relations of the United  States  with  foreign  nations.
Presidents   appoint   ambassadors,   ministers   and   consulssubject   to
confirmation by the Senateand receive foreign ambassadors and other  public
officials. With the secretary of state, the president manages  all  official
contacts  with  foreign  governments.  On  occasion,   the   president   may
personally participate in summit conferences where chiefs of state meet  for
direct consultation. Thus, President  Woodrow  Wilson  headed  the  American
delegation to the Paris conference
at the end of World War I; President Franklin D.  Roosevelt  conferred  with
Allied leaders at sea, in Africa and in Asia during World War II; and  every
president since Roosevelt has met with world statesmen to  discuss  economic
and political issues, and to reach bilateral and multilateral agreements.
      Through the Department of State, the president is responsible for  the
protection of Americans abroad  and  of  foreign  nationals  in  the  United
States.  Presidents  decide  whether  to  recognize  new  nations  and   new
governments, and negotiate treaties with other nations,  which  are  binding
on the United  States  when  approved  by  two-thirds  of  the  Senate.  The
president may also negotiate  "executive  agreements"  with  foreign  powers
that are not subject to Senate confirmation.

Because of the  vast  array  of  presidential  roles  and  responsibilities,
coupled with a  conspicuous  presence  on  the  national  and  international
scene, political analysts  have  tended  to  place  great  emphasis  on  the
president's powers. Some have even spoken of the "the imperial  presidency,"
referring to the expanded role of the  office  that  Franklin  D.  Roosevelt
maintained during his term.
   One of the first sobering realities a  new  president  discovers  is  an
inherited bureaucratic structure which is difficult to manage  and  slow  to
change direction. Power to appoint ex-  ' tends only to  some  3,000  people
out of a civilian government ' work force of more than three  million,  most
of whom are protected in their jobs by Civil Service regulations.
   The president finds that the machinery  of  government  operates  pretty
much independently  of  presidential  interventions,  has  done  so  through
earlier administrations, and will continue to  do  so  in  the  future.  New
presidents are immediately confronted with a backlog of decisions  from  the
outgoing administration on issues that are  often  complex  and  unfamiliar.
They inherit a budget formulated and enacted into law long before they  came
to office, as well as major spending programs (such as  veterans'  benefits.
Social Security payments and Medicare for the elderly), which  are  mandated
by law and not subject to influence. In  foreign  affairs,  presidents  must
conform  with  treaties  and  informal  agreements   negotiated   by   their
   The happy euphoria of the post-election "honeymoon" quickly  dissipates,
and the new president discovers that Congress has  become  less  cooperative
and the media more critical. The president  is  forced  to  build  at  least
temporary alliances among diverse,  often  antagonistic  interestseconomic,
geographic, ethnic  and  ideological.  Compromises  with  Congress  must  be
struck if any legislation is to be adopted. "It is very  easy  to  defeat  a
bill in Congress," lamented President John F.  Kennedy.  "It  is  much  more
difficult to pass one."
   Despite these burdensome constraints, few presidents  have  turned  down
the chance to run for a second term of office. Every president  achieves  at
least some of his legislative goals and prevents by veto  the  enactment  of
other laws he believes not  to  be  in  the  nation's  best  interests.  The
president's authority in  the  conduct  of  war  and  peace,  including  the
negotiation of treaties, is substantial. Moreover,  the  president  can  use
his unique position to articulate ideas and advocate  policies,  which  then
have a better chance of entering the public consciousness  than  those  held
by his political rivals. When a president raises  an  issue,  it  inevitably
becomes subject to public debate. A president's power and influence  may  be
limited, but they are also greater than those of any other American,  in  or
out of office.

The day-to-day enforcement and administration of  federal  laws  is  in  the
hands of the various executive departments,  created  by  Congress  to  deal
with specific areas of national and international affairs. The heads of  the
departments, chosen by the president and approved  by  the  Senate,  form  a
council of  advisers  generally  known  as  the  president's  "Cabinet."  In
addition to 14 departments,  there  are  a  number  of  staff  organizations
grouped into the Executive Office of the President. These include the  White
House staff, the National Security Council, the  Office  of  Management  and
Budget, the Council of Economic Advisers,  the  Office  of  the  U.S.  Trade
Representative, and the Office of Science and Technology.
      The Constitution makes no provision for  a  presidential  Cabinet.  It
does provide that the president may  ask  opinions,  in  writing,  from  the
principal officer in each of the executive departments  on  any  subject  in
their area of responsibility, but it  does  not  name  the  departments  nor
describe their duties.  Similarly,  there  are  no  specific  constitutional
qualifications for service in the Cabinet.
      The  Cabinet  developed  outside  the  Constitution  as  a  matter  of
practical necessity, for even in George Washington's day it was an  absolute
impossibility for the president to discharge his duties without  advice  and
assistance. Cabinets are what any  particular  president  makes  them.  Some
presidents have relied heavily on them for advice, others lightly, and  some
few have largely ignored  them.  Whether  or  not  Cabinet  members  act  as
advisers, they retain the responsibility for  directing  the  activities  of
the government in specific areas of concern.
 Each department has thousands of employees,  with  offices  throughout  the
country  as  well  as  in  Washington.  The  departments  are  divided  into
divisions, bureaus, offices and services, each with specific duties.

|THE CABINET                                                                |
|(All departments are headed by a secretary, except the Justice Department, |
|which is headed by the attorney general.)                                  |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE:     |Created in 1862                        |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE:        |Created in 1903. The Department of     |
|                                   |Commerce and Labor split into two      |
|                                   |separate departments in 1913.          |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE:         |Amalgamated in 1947. The Department of |
|                                   |Defense was established by combining,  |
|                                   |the Department of War (established in  |
|                                   |1789), the Department of the Navy      |
|                                   |(established in 1798) and the          |
|                                   |Department of the Air Force            |
|                                   |(established in 1947). Although the    |
|                                   |secretary of defense is a member of the|
|                                   |Cabinet, the secretaries of the Army,  |
|                                   |Navy and Air Force are not.            |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION:       |Created in 1979. Formerly part of the  |
|                                   |Department of Health, Education and    |
|                                   |Welfare.                               |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY:          |Created in 1977.                       |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN |Created in 1979, when the Department of|
|SERVICES:                          |Health, Education and Welfare (created |
|                                   |in 1953) was split into separate       |
|                                   |entities.                              |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF HOUSING AND URBAN|Created in 1965.                       |
|DEVELOPMENT:                       |                                       |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR:    |Created in 1849                        |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE:         |Created in 1870. Between 1789 and 1870,|
|                                   |the attorney general was a member of   |
|                                   |the Cabinet, but not the head of a     |
|                                   |department.                            |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:           |Created in 1913                        |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF STATE:           |Created in 1789.                       |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:  |Created in 1966.                       |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF THE TREASURY:    |Created in 1789                        |
|THE DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS:|Created in 1988. Formerly the Veterans |
|                                   |Administration, now elevated to Cabinet|
|                                   |level                                  |

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) supervises agricultural  production  to
ensure fair prices and stable markets for producers and consumers, works  to
improve and maintain farm income, and helps to develop  and  expand  markets
abroad for agricultural products. The department attempts to  curb  poverty,
hunger and malnutrition by issuing  food  stamps  to  the  poor;  sponsoring
educational programs on nutrition; and administering other  food  assistance
programs, primarily for children, expectant  mothers  and  the  elderly.  It
maintains production  capacity  by  helping  landowners  protect  the  soil,
water,  forests  and  other  natural  resources.  USDA   administers   rural
development,  credit  and  conservation  programs  that  are   designed   to
implement  national   growth   policies,   and   conducts   scientific   and
technological research in all areas of agriculture. Through  its  inspection
and grading services, USDA ensures standards of quality in food offered  for
sale. The department also promotes agricultural research by maintaining  the
National Agricultural Library, the second largest government library in  the
world.  (The  U.S.  Library  of  Congress  is  first.)  The   USDA   Foreign
Agricultural Service (FAS) serves as an export promotion and service  agency
for U.S. agriculture, employing  specialists  abroad  who  make  surveys  of
foreign agriculture for U.S. farm and business interests.  The  U.S.  Forest
Service, also part of the department, administers an  extensive  network  of
national forests and wilderness areas.

The Department of Commerce serves  to  promote  the  nation's  international
trade, economic growth and technological advancement. It  offers  assistance
and information to increase America's competitiveness in the world  economy;
administers programs  to  prevent  unfair  foreign  trade  competition;  and
provides social and  economic  statistics  and  analyses  for  business  and
government planners. The department comprises a diverse array  of  agencies.
The National Bureau of  Standards,  for  example,  conducts  scientific  and
technical research, and maintains physical measurement systems for  industry
and government. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration  (NOAA),
which includes the National Weather Service, works to improve  understanding
of the physical environment and oceanic resources. The Patent and  Trademark
Office  grants  patents  and  registers  trademarks.  The  department   also
conducts  research  and  develops  policy  on  telecommunications;  promotes
domestic economic development and foreign travel to the United  States;  and
assists in the growth of businesses owned and operated by minorities.

Headquartered in the Pentagon, the "world's largest office building," the
Department of Defense (DOD) is responsible for all matters relating to the
nation's military security. It provides the military forces of the United
States, which consist of about two million men and women on active duty.
They are backed, in case of emergency, by 2.5 million members of state
reserve components, known as the National Guard. In addition, about one
million civilian employees serve in the Defense Department in such areas as
research, intelligence communications, mapping and international security
affairs. The National Security Agency (NSA) also comes under the direction
of the secretary of defense. The department directs the separately
organized military departments of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air
Force, as well as each service academy and the National War College, the
Joint Chiefs of Staff and several specialized combat commands. DOD
maintains forces overseas to meet treaty commitments, to protect the
nation's outlying territories and commerce, and to provide air combat and
support forces. Nonmilitary responsibilities include flood control,
development of oceanographic resources and management of oil reserves.

The  Department  of  Education  absorbed  most  of  the  education  programs
previously conducted by the Department of Health, Education and Welfare,  as
well  as  programs  that  had  been  handled  by  six  other  agencies.  The
department establishes policy for and administers more than 150 federal aid-
to-education  programs,  including  student  loan  programs,  programs   for
migrant  workers,  vocational  programs,  and  special  programs   for   the
handicapped.  The  Department  of  Education  also  partially  supports  the
American Printing House for the Blind; Gallaudet University, established  to
provide a liberal higher education for deaf persons; the National  Technical
Institute for the Deaf, part  of  the  Rochester  (New  York)  Institute  of
Technology, designed to educate deaf students within a college  campus,  but
planned  primarily  for  hearing  students;   and   Howard   University   in
Washington, D.C., a comprehensive university which accepts students  of  all
races, but concentrates on educating black Americans.

Growing concern with the nation's energy  problems  in  the  1970s  prompted
Congress to create the Department of Energy (DOE). The department took  over
the functions of several government agencies already engaged in  the  energy
field. Staff offices within  the  DOE  are  responsible  for  the  research,
development and demonstration of  energy  technology;  energy  conservation;
civilian  and  military  use  of  nuclear  energy;  regulation   of   energy
production and use; pricing and allocation of oil;
and a central energy data collection and analysis  program.  The  department
protects the nation's environment  by  setting  standards  to  minimize  the
harmful  effects  of  energy   production.   For   example,   DOE   conducts
environmental and  health-related  research,  such  as  studies  of  energy-
related pollutants and their effects on biological systems.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) probably directly touches
the lives of more Americans than any other federal agency. Its largest
component, the Social Security Administration, pools contributions from
employers and employees to pay benefits to workers and their families who
have retired, died or become disabled. Social Security contributions help
pay medical bills for those 65 years and older as well, under a program
called Medicare. Through a separate program, called Medicaid, HHS provides
grants to states to help pay the medical costs of the poor. HHS also
administers a network of medical research facilities through the National
Institutes of Health, and the Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Mental Health
Administration. Other HHS agencies ensure the safety and effectiveness of
the nation's food supply and drugs, work to prevent outbreaks of
communicable diseases, and provide health services to the nation's American
Indian and native Alaskan populations. In cooperation with the states, HHS
operates the principal federal welfare program for the poor, called Aid to
Families with Dependent Children (AFDC)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) manages programs  that
assist community development and help provide  affordable  housing  for  the
nation. Fair housing laws, administered by HUD, are designed to ensure  that
individuals and families can buy  a  dwelling  without  being  subjected  to
housing discrimination. HUD directs mortgage insurance  programs  that  help
families become  homeowners,  and  a  rent-subsidy  program  for  low-income
families who otherwise could not afford  decent  housing.  In  addition,  it
operates programs  that  aid  neighborhood  rehabilitation,  preserve  urban
centers from blight and encourage the development of  new  communities.  HUD
also protects the home buyer in the  marketplace  and  fosters  programs  to
stimulate the housing industry.

As the  nation's  principal  conservation  agency,  the  Department  of  the
Interior has responsibility for most of the  federally  owned  public  lands
and natural resources in the United States. The Fish and  Wildlife  Service,
for example, administers 442  wildlife  refuges,  150  waterfowl  production
areas, and a network of  wildlife  laboratories  and  fish  hatcheries.  The
National Park Service administers more than 340 national  parks  and  scenic
monuments,  riverways,  seashores,  recreation  areas  and  historic  sites.
Through the Bureau of Land Management, the department oversees the land  and
resourcesfrom timber  and  grazing  to  oil  production  and  recreationon
millions of hectares of public land  located  primarily  in  the  West.  The
Bureau of  Reclamation  manages  scarce  water  resources  in  the  semiarid
western United  States.  The  department  regulates  mining  in  the  United
States,  assesses  mineral  resources,  and  has  major  responsibility  for
American Indians living on  reservations.  Internationally,  the  department
administers programs in U.S. territories such as the Virgin  Islands,  Guam,
American Samoa,  the  Northern  Mariana  Islands  and  Palau,  and  provides
funding for development to the Marshall Islands and the Federated States  of

The attorney general, the chief law officer of the federal government, is
in charge of the Department of Justice. The department represents the U.S.
government in legal matters and courts of law, and renders legal advice and
opinions, upon request, to the president and to the heads of the executive
departments. Its Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is the principle law
enforcement body, and its Immigration and Naturalization Service
administers immigration laws. A major agency within the department is the
Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA), which administers narcotics and
controlled substances laws, and tracks down major illicit drug trafficking
organizations. The Justice Department also gives aid to local police
forces. In addition, the department directs U.S. district attorneys and
marshals throughout the country, supervises federal prisons and other penal
institutions, and investigates and reports to the president on petitions
for paroles and pardons. The Justice Department is also linked to INTERPOL,
the International Criminal Police Organization, charged with promoting
mutual assistance between law enforcement agencies in 146 countries.

The Department of Labor promotes the welfare of wage earners in the United
States, helps improve working conditions and fosters good relations between
labor and management. It administers more than 130 federal labor laws
through such agencies as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration
(OSHA), the Employment Standards Administration and the Mine Safety and
Health Administration. Among its responsibilities are: guaranteeing
workers' rights to safe and healthy working conditions; establishing
minimum hourly wages and overtime pay; prohibiting employment
discrimination; and providing for unemployment insurance and compensation
for on-the-job injury. It also protects workers' pension rights, sponsors
job training programs and helps workers find jobs. Its Bureau of Labor
Statistics monitors and reports changes in employment, prices and other
national economic measurements. For job seekers, the department makes
special efforts to help older workers, youths, minorities, women and the

The Department of State advises the president, who has overall
responsibility for formulating and executing the foreign policy of the
United States. The department assesses American overseas interests, makes
recommendations on policy and future action, and takes necessary steps to
carry out established policy. It maintains contacts and relations between
the United States and foreign countries, advises the president on
recognition of new foreign countries and governments, negotiates treaties
and agreements with foreign nations, and speaks for the United States in
the United Nations and in more than 50 other major international
organizations. As-of 1988, the department supervised 141 embassies and 113
missions or consulates in foreign nations.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) was created in 1966 by  consolidating
land,  sea  and  air  transportation  functions  scattered  thoughout  eight
separate departments and agencies.  DOT  establishes  the  nation's  overall
transportation policy through nine operating units  that  encompass  highway
planning, development  and  construction;  urban  mass  transit;  railroads;
civilian aviation; and the safety of waterways,  ports,  highways,  and  oil
and  gas  pipelines.  For  example,  the  Federal  Aviation   Administration
operates more than 350 air traffic control facilities  across  the  country;
the Federal Highway Administration is responsible for  the  68,000-kilometer
interstate   highway   system;   the   National   Highway   Traffic   Safety
Administration establishes safety  and  fuel  economy  standards  for  motor
vehicles; and the Maritime Administration operates the U.S. merchant  marine
fleet. The U.S. Coast Guard, the nation's primary maritime  law  enforcement
and licensing agency, conducts search and rescue missions  at  sea,  combats
drug smuggling and works to prevent oil spills and ocean pollution.

The Department of the Treasury is responsible for serving the fiscal and
monetary needs of the nation. The department performs four basic functions:
formulating financial, tax and fiscal policies; serving as financial agent
for the U.S. government; providing specialized law enforcement services;
and manufacturing coins and currency. The Treasury Department reports to
Congress and the president on the financial condition of the government and
the national economy. It regulates the sale of alcohol, tobacco and
firearms in interstate and foreign commerce; supervises the printing of
stamps for the U.S. Postal Service; operates the Secret Service, which
protects the president, the vice president, their families, and visiting
dignitaries and heads of state; suppresses counterfeiting of U.S. currency
and securities; and administers the Customs Service, which regulates and
taxes the flow of goods into the country. The department includes the
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Treasury official who
executes the laws governing the operation of approximately 4,600 banks; and
the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), which administers tax lawsthe source
of most of the federal government's revenue.

The Department of Veterans Affairs, established as an independent agency in
1930 and elevated to Cabinet level in 1988, dispenses benefits and services
to eligible veterans of U.S. military service and their dependents. The
medicine and surgery department provides hospital and nursing home care,
and outpatient medical and dental services through 172 medical centers, 16
retirement homes, 228 clinics and 116 nursing homes in the United States,
Puerto Rico and the Philippines. It also supports veterans under care in
hospitals and nursing homes in 35 states. The veterans benefits department
oversees claims for disability, pensions, specially adapted housing and
other services. This department also administers education programs for
veterans, and provides housing credit assistance to eligible veterans and
active-duty service personnel. The memorial affairs department administers
the National Cemetery System, providing burial services, headstones and
markers to eligible veterans and their spouses within specially designated
cemeteries throughout the United States.

                          THE INDEPENDENT AGENCIES

The executive departments are the major operating units  of  |  the  federal
government,  but  there  are  many  other  agencies  which  have   important
responsibilities  for  keeping  the  government  and  the  economy   working
smoothly. These are often called independent agencies, since  they  are  not
part of the executive departments. The nature and purpose of these  agencies
vary widely. Some are regulatory groups, with powers  to  supervise  certain
sectors of the economy. Others  provide  special  services,  either  to  the
government or to the people. In most cases, the agencies have  been  created
by Congress to deal with matters that have become too complex for the  scope
of ordinary legislation. The Interstate Commerce  Commission,  for  example,
was established by Congress in  1887  to  curb  the  growing  power  of  the
railroads. In recent years, however, a  trend  toward  deregulation  of  the
economy has altered the functions of many federal regulatory  bodies.  Among
the most important independent agencies are the following:
action is the principal federal agency for administering domestic volunteer
service programs to meet basic human needs, and to  support  the  self-help
efforts of poor individuals and communities. Some of action's programs  are
Foster Grandparents,  offering  older  Americans  opportunities  for  close
relationships  with  needy  children;  Volunteers  in  Service  to  America
(VISTA), which provides volunteers to work in poor communities; and Student
Community Service Projects, which encourages students to volunteer in their
communities as part of their education.
central intelligence agency (cia) coordinates  intelligence  activities  of
certain government  departments  and  agencies;  collects,  correlates  and
evaluates intelligence information relating to national security; and makes
recommendations to the National Security Council.
environmental protection agency (epa), founded in  1970,  works  with  state
and local governments throughout the United  States  to  control  and  abate
pollution in the air and water, and to  deal  with  the  problems  of  solid
waste, pesticides, radiation and toxic substances.  EPA  sets  and  enforces
standards for air and water quality, evaluates the impact of pesticides  and
chemical substances, and  manages  the  so-called  "Superfund"  program  for
cleaning toxic waste sites.
the federal communications commission licenses the operation  of  radio  and
television  stations  and  regulates  interstate  telephone  and   telegraph
services. It sets rates  for  interstate  communications  services,  assigns
radio frequencies, and administers international communications treaties.
the federal reserve system supervises the  private  banking  system  of  the
United States. It regulates the volume of credit and money  in  circulation.
The Federal Reserve performs many of  the  functions  of  central  banks  in
other countries, such as  issuing  paper  currency;  unlike  central  banks,
however, it does not act as the depository of the country's gold reserve.
the  federal  trade  commission  guards  against  trade  abuses  and  unfair
business practices by conducting  investigations  and  holding  hearings  on
the general accounting office is an  arm  of  the  legislative  branch  that
oversees  expenditures  by  the  executive  branch.  It  is  headed  by  the
comptroller   general   of   the    United    States.    It    settles    or
adjustsindependently of the executive departmentsall  claims  and  demands
by or against the federal government, and all money accounts  in  which  the
government is concerned. It also checks the ledger accounts of  all  federal
disbursement and collection officers to see  that  public  funds  have  been
paid out legally.
the general services administration controls much of the  physical  property
of the federal government. It  is  responsible  for  the  purchase,  supply,
operation and maintenance of federal property, buildings and equipment,  and
for the sale of surplus items.
the interstate commerce commission regulates  the  rates  and  practices  in
interstate commerce of  all  common  carriers,  such  as  railroads,  buses,
trucks, and shipping on inland waterways.  It  supervises  the  issuance  of
stocks and bonds by common carriers and enforces safety laws.
1958 to run the U.S. space program, placed  the  first  American  satellites
and astronauts in orbit, and launched the Apollo spacecraft that landed  men
on the moon in 1969. Today, NASA  conducts  research  aboard  Earth-orbiting
satellites and interplanetary probes,  explores  new  concepts  in  advanced
aerospace technology, and operates the U.S. fleet of manned space  shuttles.
In the 1990s, NASA will assemble, in space, the components for  a  permanent
space station manned by international crews from the United  States,  Europe
and Japan.
development of American arts, literature and scholarship, through grants to
individuals, groups, institutions and state agencies.
the national labor relations board  administers  the  principal  U.S.  labor
law, the National Labor Relations Act. The Board is vested  with  the  power
to prevent or remedy unfair labor  practices  and  to  safeguard  employees'
rights to organize and determine through elections whether  to  have  unions
as their bargaining representative.
the national science foundation was created  to  strengthen  basic  research
and education in the sciences in the United  States.  It  grants  funds  for
research and education programs to universities and other institutions,  and
coordinates the science information activities of the federal government.
the office of national drug control policy, created in  1988  to  raise  the
profile of the U.S. government's fight against  illegal  drugs,  coordinates
efforts of such agencies as the U.S. Drug  Enforcement  Administration,  the
Customs Service and the Coast Guard.
THE OFFICE OF PERSONNEL MANAGEMENT in 1979 assumed functions of the Civil
Service Commission, which was created in 1883 to establish a merit system
for government service and to eliminate politics from public appointments.
The agency holds competitive examinations across the country to select
qualified workers for over three million government posts. It also sponsors
training programs to increase the effectiveness of government employees.
the peace corps, founded in 1961, trains  volunteers  to  serve  in  foreign
countries for two years. Peace Corps volunteers, now working  in  more  than
60  nations,  assist  in  agricultural-rural  development,  small  business,
health, natural resources conservation and education.
THE SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION was established to protect investors
who buy stocks and bonds. Federal laws require companies that plan to raise
money by selling their own securities to file facts about their operations
with the commission. The commission has powers to prevent or punish fraud
in the sale of securities, and is authorized to regulate stock exchanges.
the small business administration lends money to small businesses, aids
victims of floods and other natural disasters, and helps secure contracts
for small businesses to supply goods and services to the federal
economic assistance programs designed to help the people in developing
countries develop their human and economic resources, increase their
productive capacities, and improve the quality of human life. The USAID
administrator also serves as director of the U.S. International Development
Cooperation Agency, which serves as the focal point for U.S. participation
in such organizations as the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Organization
of American States (OAS) Technical Assistance Funds program, the World Bank
Group, and along with the Department of Agriculture, the Food for Peace
U.S. participation in international negotiations on arms limitation and
disarmament. It represents the United States on international arms control
commissions and supports research on arms control and disarmament.
understanding of the United States in other countries through the
dissemination abroad of information about the nation, its people, culture
and policies. USIA also administers a number of two-way educational and
cultural exchange programs, such as the Fulbright Program, with foreign
nations. It provides assistance to foreign press and television journalists
covering the United States. The Agency also advises the president and the
various departments of the government on foreign opinion concerning U.S.
policies and programs.
   the united states postal service is operated  by  an  autonomous  public
corporation that replaced the Post Office Department  in  1971.  The  Postal
Service is responsible for the collection, transportation  and  delivery  of
the mails, and for the operation of thousands of local post  offices  across
the country.  It  also  provides  international  mail  service  through  the
Universal Postal Union and  other  agreements  with  foreign  countries.  An
independent Postal Rate Commission, also created in  1971,  sets  the  rates
for different classes of mail.
                           THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Article I of the Constitution grants all legislative powers of the federal
government to a Congress divided into two chambers. a Senate and a House of
Representatives. The Senate, the smaller of the two, is composed of two
members for each state as provided by the Constitution, Membership in the
House is based on population and its size is therefore not specified in the
   For more than 100 years after the adoption of the Constitution, senators
were not elected by direct vote of the  people  but  were  chosen  by  state
legislatures. Senators were looked  on  as  representatives  of  their  home
states. Their duty was to ensure that their states were treated  equally  in
all legislation. The 17th Amendment, adopted in 1913,  provided  for  direct
election of the Senate.
   The delegates to the Constitutional  Convention  reasoned  that  if  two
separate groupsone representing state governments and one representing  the
peoplemust both approve every proposed law, there would  be  little  danger
of Congress passing laws hurriedly or carelessly.  One  house  could  always
check the other in the manner of the  British  Parliament.  Passage  of  the
17th Amendment did not substantially alter this  balance  of  power  between
the two houses.
   While there was intense debate in the Convention  over  the  makeup  and
powers of Congress, many delegates  believed  that  the  legislative  branch
would be relatively unimportant. A few  believed  that  the  Congress  would
concern itself largely with external affairs, leaving  domestic  matters  to
state and local governments. These views were clearly wide of the mark.  The
Congress has  proved  to  be  exceedingly  active,  with  broad  powers  and
authority in all matters of national concern. While its  strength  vis-a-vis
the executive branch has waxed and waned at different  periods  of  American
history, the Congress  has  never  been  impotent  or  a  rubber  stamp  for
presidential decisions.

The Constitution requires that U.S. senators must be at least  30  years  of
age, citizens of the United States for at least nine  years,  and  residents
of the states  from  which  they  are  elected.  Members  of  the  House  of
Representatives  must  be  at  least  25,  citizens  for  seven  years,  and
residents of the states which send them to  Congress.  The  states  may  set
additional requirements for  election  to  Congress,  but  the  Constitution
gives each house the power to determine the qualifications of its members.
Each state is entitled to two senators. Thus,  Rhode  Island,  the  smallest
state,  with  an  area  of  about  3,156  square  kilometers  has  the  same
senatorial representation as Alaska, the biggest  state,  with  an  area  of
some 1,524,640 square kilometers. Wyoming, with  490,000  persons  in  1987,
has representation equal to that of California, with its 1987 population  of
   The total number of members of the House  of  Representatives  has  been
determined by Congress. That  number  is  then  divided  among  the  states
according to their populations. Regardless of its population,  every  state
is constitutionally  guaranteed  at  least  one  member  of  the  House  of
Representatives. At present, six  statesAlaska,  Delaware,  North  Dakota,
South Dakota, Vermont and Wyominghave  only  one  representative.  On  the
other hand, six states have more than 20  representativesCalifornia  alone
has 45.
   The Constitution provides for a national census  each  10  years  and  a
redistribution of House seats according to  population  shifts.  Under  the
original constitutional provision, the number of representatives was to  be
no more than one for each 30,000 citizens. There were  65  members  in  the
first House, and the number was increased to 106 after  the  first  census.
Had the one-to-30,000  formula  been  adhered  to  permanently,  population
growth in the  United  States  would  have  brought  the  total  number  of
representatives to about 7,000. Instead, the formula has been adjusted over
the years, and today the House is composed of 435 members, roughly one  for
each 530,000 persons in the United States.
   State legislatures divide the states into congressional districts, which
must be substantially equal in population. Every two years, the  voters  of
each district choose a representative for Congress.
   Senators are chosen in statewide elections held in even-numbered  years.
The senatorial term is six years, and every  two  years  one-third  of  the
Senate stands for election. Hence, two-thirds of the  senators  are  always
persons with some legislative experience at the national level.
   It is theoretically possible for the House to be  composed  entirely  of
legislative novices. In  practice,  however,  most  members  are  reelected
several times and the House, like the Senate, can always count  on  a  core
group of experienced legislators.
   Since members of the House serve two-year terms, the life of a  Congress
is considered to  be  two  years.  The  20th  Amendment  provides  that  the
Congress will meet in regular session each January 3, unless Congress  fixes
a different date. The Congress remains in session until its members vote  to
adjournusually late in the year. The president may call a  special  session
when he or she thinks it necessary. Sessions are  held  in  the  Capitol  in
Washington, D.C.

Each house of Congress  has  the  power  to  introduce  legislation  on  any
subject  except  revenue  bills,  which  must  originate  in  the  House  of
Representatives. The large states may thus appear  to  have  more  influence
over the public purse than the small  states.  In  practice,  however,  each
house can vote against legislation passed by the  other  house.  The  Senate
may disapprove a House revenue billor any  bill,  for  that  matteror  add
amendments which change its nature. In that event,  a  conference  committee
made up of members from both houses must work out  a  compromise  acceptable
to both sides before the bill becomes law.
   The Senate also has certain powers especially  reserved  to  that  body,
including  the  authority  to  confirm  presidential  appointments  of  high
officials and ambassadors of the federal government as well as authority  to
ratify all treaties by a  two-thirds  vote.  Unfavorable  action  in  either
instance nullifies executive action.
   In the case of impeachment of federal officials, the House has the  sole
right to bring charges of misconduct that can lead to an impeachment trial.
The Senate has the  sole  power  to  try  impeachment  cases  and  to  find
officials guilty or not guilty. A finding of guilt results in  the  removal
of the federal official from public office.
   The broad powers of the whole Congress are spelled  out  in  the  eighth
section of the first article of the Constitution:
 to levy and collect taxes;
 to borrow money for the public treasury;
 to make rules and regulations governing  commerce  among  the  states  and
with foreign countries;
 to make uniform rules for the naturalization of foreign citizens;
 to coin money,  state  its  value,  and  provide  for  the  punishment  of
 to set the standards for weights and measures;
 to establish bankruptcy laws for the country as a whole;
 to establish post offices and post roads;
 to issue patents and copyrights;
 to set up a system of federal courts;
 to punish piracy;
 to declare war;
 to raise and support armies;
 to provide for a navy;
 to call out the militia to enforce federal laws, suppress  lawlessness  or
repel invasions by foreign powers;
 to make all laws for the District of Columbia; and
 to make all laws necessary to enforce the Constitution.
   A few of these powers are now outdatedthe District of Columbia today is
largely self-governingbut they remain in effect. The  10th  Amendment  sets
definite limits on congressional authority, by  providing  that  powers  not
delegated to the national government are reserved to the states  or  to  the
people. In addition, the Constitution specifically forbids certain  acts  by
Congress. It may not:
 suspend the writ of habeas corpus, unless necessary in time  of  rebellion
or invasion;
 pass laws which condemn persons for crimes  or  unlawful  acts  without  a
 pass any law which retroactively makes a specific act a crime;
 levy direct taxes on citizens, except on the basis  of  a  census  already
 tax exports from any one state;
 give specially favorable treatment in commerce or taxation to the
seaports of any state or to the vessels using them; and
 authorize any titles of nobility.

A congressman once observed that "Congress is  a  collection  of  committees
that come together in  a  chamber  periodically  to  approve  one  another's
actions. " That statement correctly identifies the  standing  and  permanent
committees that are the nerve centers of the U.S. Congress. In a recent two-
year session of Congress, for example, members proposed a total of  I],  602
bills in the House and 4,080 in the Senate. For each  of  these  bills,  the
committees responsible had to study, weigh arguments [or and  against,  hear
witnesses and debate changes, before the bills ever  reached  the  House  or
Senate floors. Out of almost ] 5,000  measures  introduced,  only  664fewer
than six percentwere enacted into law.
   The  Constitution  does  not   specifically   call   for   congressional
committees. As the nation grew, however, so did the need for  investigating
pending legislation more thoroughly. The committee system  began  in  1789,
when House members found themselves bogged down in endless  discussions  of
proposed new laws.  The  first  committees  dealt  with  Revolutionary  War
claims, post  roads  and  territories,  and  trade  with  other  countries.
Throughout the years, committees have formed and disbanded in  response  to
political, social and economic changes. For example, there is no longer any
need for a Revolutionary War claims committee, but both houses of  Congress
have a Veterans' Affairs committee.
   Today, there are 22 standing committees in  the  House  and  16  in  the
Senate, plus four joint permanent committees with members from both  houses:
Library of Congress, printing, taxation and  economics.  In  addition,  each
house can name special, or select, committees to  study  specific  problems:
Because of an increase  in  workload,  the  standing  committees  have  also
spawned some 300 subcommittees. Almost 25,000 persons  help  with  research,
information-gathering and analyses of problems  and  programs  in  Congress.
Recently, during one week of hearings, committee  and  subcommittee  members
discussed topics ranging from financing of television  broadcasting  to  the
safety of nuclear plants to international commodity agreements.
   And what do ail these "little legislatures" actually do?  After  all  the
facts are gathered, the committee decides  whether  to  report  a  new  bill
favorably or with a  recommendation  that  it  be  passed  with  amendments.
Sometimes, the bill will be set aside, or  tabled,  which  effectively  ends
its consideration. When bills are reported out of committee  and  passed  by
the full House or Senate,  however,  another  committee  goes  into  action,
ironing out any differences between the House and  Senate  versions  of  the
same bill. This "conference committee,  "  consisting  of  members  of  both
houses, completes a bill to all members' satisfaction, then sends it to  the
House and Senate floors for final discussion and  a  vote.  If  passed,  the
bill goes to the president for his signature.
   Congressional committees are vital because they do the nuts-and-bolts job
of weighing the  proposals,  hammering  them  into  shape  or  killing  them
completely. They continue to play  a  large  part  in  the  preparation  and
consideration of laws that will help shape the United States  in  its  third

|HOUSE                                |SENATE                               |
|Agriculture                          |Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry  |
|Appropriations                       |Appropriations                       |
|Armed Services                       |Armed Services                       |
|Banking, Finance and Urban Affairs   |Banking. Finance and Urban Affairs   |
|Budget                               |Budget                               |
|District of Columbia                 |Commerce, Science and Transportation |
|Education and Labor                  |Energy and Natural Resources         |
|Energy and Commerce                  |Environment and Public Works         |
|Foreign Affairs                      |Finance                              |
|Government Operations                |Foreign Relations                    |
|House Administration                 |Governmental Affairs                 |
|Interior and Insular Affairs         |Judiciary                            |
|Judiciary                            |Labor and Human Resources            |
|Merchant Marine and Fisheries        |Rules and Administration             |
|Post Office and Civil Service        |Small Business                       |
|Public Works and Transportation      |Veterans' Affairs                    |
|Rules                                |                                     |
|Science, Space and Technology        |                                     |
|Small Business                       |                                     |
|Standards of Official Conduct        |                                     |
|Veterans' Affairs                    |                                     |
|Ways and Means                       |                                     |

The Constitution provides that the vice president shall be president of  the
Senate. He or she has no vote, except in the  case  of  a  tie.  The  Senate
chooses a president pro tempore  to  preside  when  the  vice  president  is
absent. The House of Representatives chooses its own  presiding  officerthe
speaker of the House. The speaker and the president pro tempore  are  always
members of the political party  with  the  largest  representation  in  each
   At the beginning of each new Congress, members of the  political  parties
select floor leaders and other officials to  manage  the  flow  of  proposed
legislation.  These  officials,  along  with  the  presiding  officers   and
committee chairmen, exercise strong influence over the making of laws.

One of the major characteristics  of  the  Congress  is  the  dominant  role
committees play in its proceedings. Committees have assumed  their  present-
day importance  by  evolution,  not  by  constitutional  design,  since  the
Constitution makes no provision for their establishment.
   At present the Senate has 16  standing  (or  permanent)  committees:  the
House of Representatives has 22.  Each  specializes  in  specific  areas  of
legislation:  foreign  affairs,  defense,  banking,  agriculture,  commerce,
appropriations and other fields. Every bill introduced in  either  house  is
referred to a committee for study  and  recommendation.  The  committee  may
approve, revise, kill or ignore any measure referred to  it.  It  is  nearly
impossible for a bill to reach the  House  or  Senate  floor  without  first
winning committee approval. In the House, a petition  to  discharge  a  bill
from a committee requires the signatures of 218 members; in  the  Senate,  a
majority of all members is required. In  practice,  such  discharge  motions
only rarely receive the required support.
   The majority party in each house controls the committee process.
Committee chairmen are selected by a caucus of party members or specially
designated groups of members. Minority parties are proportionally
represented on the committees according to their strength in each house.
   Bills are introduced by a variety of methods. Some are drawn up by
standing committees; some by special committees created to deal with
specific legislative issues; and some may be suggested by the president or
other executive officers. Citizens and organizations outside the Congress
may suggest legislation to members, and individual members themselves may
initiate bills. After introduction, bills are sent to designated committees
which, in most cases, schedule a series of public hearings to permit
presentation of views by persons who support or oppose the legislation. The
hearing process, which can last several weeks or months, opens the
legislative process to public participation.
    One virtue of the committee system is that it permits members of
Congress and their staffs to amass a considerable degree of expertise in
various legislative fields. In the early days of the republic, when the
population was small and the duties of the federal government narrowly
circumscribed, such expertise was not as important. Each congressman was a
generalist and dealt knowledgeably with all fields of interest. The
complexity of national life today calls for special knowledge, which means
that elected representatives often acquire expertise in one or two areas of
public policy.
   When a committee has acted favorably on a bill, the proposed legislation
is then sent to the floor for open debate. In the Senate, the  rules  permit
virtually unlimited debate. In the House, because of  the  large  number  of
members, the Rules Committee usually sets  limits.  When  debate  is  ended,
members vote either to approve the bill, defeat  it,  table  itwhich  means
setting it aside and is tantamount to defeator return it  to  committee.  A
bill passed by one house is sent to the other for action.  If  the  bill  is
amended by the second house, a conference committee composed of  members  of
both houses attempts to reconcile the differences.
   Once passed by both houses, the bill  is  sent  to  the  president,  for
constitutionally the president must act on a bill for it to become law.  The
president has the option of signing the  billby  which  it  becomes  lawor
vetoing it. A bill vetoed by the president must  be  reapproved  by  a  two-
thirds vote of both houses to become law.
   The president may also refuse either to sign or veto  a  bill.  In  that
case, the bill becomes law without his signature 10 days  after  it  reaches
him (not counting Sundays). The  single  exception  to  this  rule  is  when
Congress adjourns after sending a bill to the president and before  the  10-
day period has expired; his refusal to take  any  action  then  negates  the
billa process known as the "pocket veto."

One of the most important nonlegislative functions of the  Congress  is  the
power to investigate. This power is usually delegated  to  committeeseither
the standing committees, special committees set up for a  specific  purpose,
or joint committees composed of members of both houses.  Investigations  are
conducted to gather information on the need for future legislation, to  test
the  effectiveness  of  laws   already   passed,   to   inquire   into   the
qualifications and  performance  of  members  and  officials  of  the  other
branches, and on rare occasions,  to  lay  the  groundwork  for  impeachment
proceedings. Frequently, committees call on outside  experts  to  assist  in
conducting investigative hearings and to make detailed studies of issues.
   There are important corollaries to the investigative power. One  is  the
power  to  publicize  investigations  and  their  results.  Most   committee
hearings are open to the public and are widely reported in the  mass  media.
Congressional investigations thus represent one important tool available  to
lawmakers to inform the citizenry and arouse  public  interest  in  national
issues. Congressional committees also have the  power  to  compel  testimony
from unwilling witnesses, and to cite for  contempt  of  Congress  witnesses
who refuse to testify and for perjury those who give false testimony.

In contrast to European parliamentary systems, the  selection  and  behavior
of U.S. legislators has little to do with central party discipline. Each  of
the major American political parties is basically a coalition of  local  and
state  organizations  which  join  together  as   a   functioning   national
partyRepublican or Democraticduring the presidential  elections  at  four-
year intervals. Thus the members of Congress owe their  positions  to  their
local or state electorate, not to  the  national  party  leadership  nor  to
their congressional colleagues. As a result,  the  legislative  behavior  of
representatives and senators tends to be individualistic and  idiosyncratic,
reflecting the great variety of  electorates  represented  and  the  freedom
that comes from having built a loyal personal constituency.
   Congress is thus a collegial and not a hierarchical body. Power does not
flow from the top down, as  in  a  corporation,  but  in  practically  every
direction. There is only minimal centralized authority, since the  power  to
punish or reward is slight. Congressional  policies  are  made  by  shifting
coalitions which may vary from issue to issue. Sometimes,  where  there  are
conflicting pressuresfrom the White House and from  important  economic  or
ethnic groupslegislators will  use  the  rules  of  procedure  to  delay  a
decision so as to avoid alienating an influential sector. A  matter  may  be
postponed on the grounds  that  the  relevant  committee  held  insufficient
public hearings. Or Congress may direct an  agency  to  prepare  a  detailed
report before an issue  is  considered.  Or  a  measure  may  be  put  aside
("tabled") by either house, thus effectively defeating it without  rendering
a judgment on its substance.
   There are informal or unwritten norms of behavior that  often  determine
the  assignments  and  influence  of  a   particular   member.   "Insiders,"
representatives and senators who concentrate on  their  legislative  duties,
may be more powerful within the halls  of  Congress  than  "outsiders,"  who
gain recognition by speaking out on national issues.  Members  are  expected
to show courtesy toward their colleagues and to avoid personal  attacks,  no
matter how extreme or unpalatable their opponents' policies may be.  Members
are also expected to specialize in a few  policy  areas  rather  than  claim
expertise in the whole range of legislative concerns. Those who  conform  to
these informal  rules  are  more  likely  to  be  appointed  to  prestigious
committees or at  least  to  committees  that  affect  the  interests  of  a
significant portion of their constituents.

Of the numerous techniques  that  Congress  has  adopted  to  influence  the
executive branch, one of the  most  effective  is  the  oversight  function.
Congressional oversight prevents waste and fraud; protects  civil  liberties
and individual rights; ensures executive compliance with  the  law;  gathers
information  for  making  laws  and  educating  the  public:  and  evaluates
executive  performance.  It  applies  to  Cabinet   departments,   executive
agencies, regulatory commissions and the presidency.
   Congress' oversight function takes many forms:
committee inquiries and hearings;
formal consultations with and reports from the executive;
Senate advice and consent for executive nominations and treaties;
House impeachment proceedings and subsequent Senate trials;
House and Senate proceedings under the 25th Amendment  in  the  event  that
the president becomes disabled, or the office of the  vice  president  falls
informal meetings between legislators and executive officials;
congressional membership on governmental commissions; and
studies by congressional  committees  and  support  agencies  such  as  the
Congressional Budget Office, the General Accounting Office or the Office  of
Technology Assessmentall arms of Congress.
   The oversight power of Congress has helped  to  force  officials  out  of
office,  change  policies  and  provide  new  statutory  controls  over  the
executive. In 1949, for example,  probes  by  special  Senate  investigating
subcommittees  revealed  corruption  among  high  officials  in  the  Truman
administration. This resulted in the reorganization of certain agencies  and
the formation of a special White House commission  to  study  corruption  in
the government.
   The Senate Foreign Relations Committee's televised hearings in  the  late
1960s helped to mobilize opposition  to  the  Vietnam  War.  Congress'  1973
Watergate investigation exposed White House  officials  who  illegally  used
their  positions  for  political  advantage,   and   the   House   Judiciary
Committee's impeachment proceedings  against  President  Richard  Nixon  the
following year ended his presidency. Select committee inquiries in 1975  and
1976 identified serious abuses by intelligence agencies  and  initiated  new
legislation to control certain intelligence activities.
   In 1983, congressional inquiry into  a  proposal  to  consolidate  border
inspection operations of the U.S. Customs Service and the  U.S.  Immigration
and Naturalization Service raised questions about the executive's  authority
to make such a change without new legislation. In  1987,  oversight  efforts
disclosed statutory violations in the executive branch's secret  arms  sales
to Iran and the diversion of  arms  profits  to  anti-government  forces  in
Nicaragua,  known  as  the  contras.  Congressional  findings  resulted   in
proposed legislation to prevent similar occurrences.
   Oversight power is an essential check in monitoring  the  presidency  and
controlling public policy.

                             THE JUDICIAL BRANCH

The third branch of the federal government, the  judiciary,  consists  of  a
system of courts spread throughout the country, headed by the Supreme  Court
of the United States.
   A system of state courts existed before the  Constitution  was  drafted.
There  was   considerable   controversy   among   the   delegates   to   the
Constitutional Convention as to whether a federal court system  was  needed,
and whether it should supplant the state courts. As in other  matters  under
debate, a compromise was reached in which the state  courts  were  continued
while the Constitution mandated a  federal  judiciary  with  limited  power.
Article III of the Constitution states  the  basis  for  the  federal  court
   The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in  one  Supreme
Court, and such inferior courts as  the  Congress  may  from  time  to  time
ordain and establish.
   With this guide, the first Congress divided the  nation  into  districts
and created federal courts  for  each  district.  From  that  beginning  has
evolved the present structure: the Supreme Court, 11 courts of  appeals,  91
district courts, and three courts of special  jurisdiction.  Congress  today
retains the power to create and  abolish  federal  courts,  as  well  as  to
determine the number of judges in the federal judiciary system.  It  cannot,
however, abolish the Supreme Court.
   The judicial power extends to cases arising under the Constitution; laws
and treaties of the United  States;  admiralty  and  maritime  cases;  cases
affecting ambassadors, ministers and consuls of  foreign  countries  in  the
United States; controversies in which the U.S. government is  a  party;  and
controversies between states (or their citizens)  and  foreign  nations  (or
their citizens  or  subjects).  The  11th  Amendment  removed  from  federal
jurisdiction cases in which citizens of one state were  the  plaintiffs  and
the government of another state  was  the  defendant.  It  did  not  disturb
federal jurisdiction in cases in which a state  government  is  a  plaintiff
and a citizen of another state the defendant.
   The power of the federal  courts  extends  both  to  civil  actions  for
damages and other redress, and to criminal cases arising under federal  law.
Article III has resulted in a complex set  of  relationships  between  state
and federal courts. Ordinarily, federal courts do  not  hear  cases  arising
under the laws of individual states. However, some cases over which  federal
courts have jurisdiction may also be heard  and  decided  by  state  courts.
Both court systems thus  have  exclusive  jurisdiction  in  some  areas  and
concurrent jurisdiction in others.
   The Constitution safeguards  judicial  independence  by  providing  that
federal judges shall hold office "during good behavior"in  practice,  until
they die, retire or resign, although a judge who commits  an  offense  while
in office may be impeached in  the  same  way  as  the  president  or  other
officials of the federal  government.  U.S.  judges  are  appointed  by  the
president and confirmed by the Senate.  Congress  also  determines  the  pay
scale of judges.

The Supreme Court is the highest court of the United States,  and  the  only
one specifically created by the Constitution.  A  decision  of  the  Supreme
Court cannot be appealed to any other court. Congress has the power  to  fix
the number of judges sitting on the Court and, within  limits,  decide  what
kind of cases it may hear, but it cannot change  the  powers  given  to  the
Supreme Court by the Constitution itself.
   The Constitution is silent on the qualifications for judges. There is no
requirement that judges be lawyers, although, in fact,  all  federal  judges
and Supreme Court justices have been members of the bar.
   Since the creation of the Supreme Court almost 200 years ago, there have
been slightly more than 100 justices. The  original  Court  consisted  of  a
chief justice and five associate  justices.  For  the  next  80  years,  the
number of justices varied until, in 1869, the complement was  fixed  at  one
chief justice and eight associates.  The  chief  justice  is  the  executive
officer of the Court but, in deciding cases, has only one vote,  as  do  the
associate justices.
   The Supreme Court has original jurisdiction in only two kinds of  cases:
those involving foreign dignitaries and those in which a state is  a  party.
All other cases reach the Court on appeal from lower courts.
   Of the several thousand cases filed annually, the  Court  usually  hears
only about 150. Most of the cases involve interpretation of the  law  or  of
the intent of Congress in passing a  piece  of  legislation.  A  significant
amount of the work of the Supreme Court, however,  consists  of  determining
whether legislation or executive acts  conform  to  the  Constitution.  This
power  of  judicial  review  is  not  specifically  provided  for   by   the
Constitution. Rather, it is doctrine inferred by the Court from its  reading
of the Constitution, and forcefully  stated  in  the  landmark  Marbury  vs.
Madison case of 1803. In its decision in that case, the Court held  that  "a
legislative act contrary to  the  Constitution  is  not  law,"  and  further
observed that "it is emphatically the province  and  duty  of  the  judicial
department to say what the law is." The doctrine has also been  extended  to
cover the activities of state and local governments.
   Decisions of  the  Court  need  not  be  unanimous;  a  simple  majority
prevails, provided at least six  justicesthe  legal  quorumparticipate  in
the decision. In split decisions, the Court usually issues a majority and  a
minorityor dissentingopinion, both of which may form the basis for  future
decisions by the  Court.  Often  justices  will  write  separate  concurring
opinions when they agree with a decision, but for reasons other  than  those
cited by the majority.

The second highest level of the federal judiciary is made up of  the  courts
of appeals, created in 1891 to facilitate the disposition of cases and  ease
the burden on the Supreme Court.  The  United  States  is  divided  into  11
separate appeals regions, each served by a court of appeals with from  three
to 15 sitting judges.
   The courts of appeals review decisions  of  the  district  courts  (trial
courts  with  federal  jurisdiction)  within  their  areas.  They  are  also
empowered to review orders of the independent regulatory agencies,  such  as
the Federal Trade Commission, in cases where the internal review  mechanisms
of the agencies have been  exhausted  and  there  still  exists  substantial
disagreement over legal points.
   Below the courts of appeals are the district courts. The  50  states  are
divided into 89 districts so that litigants may have  a  trial  within  easy
reach. Additionally, there is one in the District of  Columbia  and  one  in
the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, not a state of the union, but part  of  the
United States. From one to 27 judges sit in each  of  the  district  courts.
Depending on case load, a judge from one district may temp!) rarity  sit  in
another district. Congress fixes the boundaries of the  districts  according
to population,  size  and  volume  of  work.  Some  of  the  smaller  states
constitute a district by themselves. while the larger states,  such  as  New
York, California and Texas, have four districts each.
   Except in the District of Columbia,  judges  must  be  residents  of  the
district in  which  they  permanently  serve.  District  courts  hold  their
sessions at periodic intervals in different cities of the district.
   Most cases and  controversies  heard  by  these  courts  involve  federal
offenses such as misuse  of  the  mails,  theft  of  federal  property,  and
violations of pure food, banking and  counterfeiting  laws.  These  are  the
only federal courts where grand juries indict those accused of  crimes,  and
juries decide the cases.

In addition to the federal courts  of  general  jurisdiction,  it  has  been
necessary from time to time to set up courts  for  special  purposes.  These
are  known  as  "legislative"  courts   because   they   were   created   by
congressional action. Judges in these courts,  like  their  peers  in  other
federal courts, are appointed for life terms by the president,  with  Senate
   Perhaps the most important of these  special  courts  is  the  Court  of
Claims, established in 1855 to render judgment on  monetary  claims  against
the United States. Other special courts include  the  Customs  Court,  which
has exclusive jurisdiction over civil actions involving taxes or  quotas  on
imported goods, and the Court of Customs  and  Patent  Appeals  which  hears
appellate motions from decisions of the Customs Court and  the  U.S.  Patent


Although the Constitution has changed in many aspects  since  it  was  first
adopted, its basic principles remain the same now as in 1789:
 The three main branches of government are separate and distinct  from  one
another. The powers given to each are delicately balanced by the  powers  of
the other two. Each branch serves as a check on potential  excesses  of  the
 The Constitution, together with laws passed according to  its  provisions,
and treaties entered into by the  president  and  approved  by  the  Senate,
stands above all other laws, executive acts and regulations.
 All persons are equal before the law  and  are  equally  entitled  to  its
protection. All states are equal, and none  can  receive  special  treatment
from the federal government. Within
the limits of the Constitution, each state must recognize  and  respect  the
laws of the others. State governments, like the federal government, must  be
democratic in form, with final authority resting with the people.
 The people have the right to change their form of national  government  by
legal means defined in the Constitution itself.
Few Americans, however, would defend  their  country's  record  as  perfect.
American democracy is in a constant state of evolution. As Americans  review
their history, they recognize errors of performance  and  failures  to  act,
which have delayed the nation's progress. They know that more mistakes  will
be made in the future.
Yet the U.S. government still represents the people,  and  is  dedicated  to
the  preservation  of  liberty.  The  right  to  criticize  the   government
guarantees the right  to  change  it  when  it  strays  from  the  essential
principles of the Constitution. So long as the preamble to the  Constitution
is heeded, the republic  will  stand.  In  the  words  of  Abraham  Lincoln,
"government of the people, by the people,  and  for  the  people  shall  not
perish from the earth."




The Bill of Rights______________________





" "