Two Houses of Congress - Reading Comprehension
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Two Houses of Congress Reading Comprehension
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Two Houses of Congress
By Phyllis Naegeli

1     When the Founding Fathers wrote the Constitution, they envisioned that the Legislative Branch would be the foundation of the government. There was a great deal of discussion and arguing over its structure. Eventually, the Great Compromise was reached dividing Congress into two houses - the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate was created to satisfy the demands of the smaller states for equal representation among the states. The House, with its membership based on population, was formed to satisfy the larger states who wanted equal representation for its citizens.
2     The Senate is the upper house of Congress and has one hundred members - two from each state. Senators serve six-year terms and must be thirty years old, have been a citizen of the United States for nine years, and must be a resident of the state where they were elected. Every two years, one-third of the Senate comes up for re-election. These rotating elections help to maintain stability in this more distinguished house of Congress.
3     The vice-president is the president of the Senate. As president of the Senate, the vice-president decides who will speak to the Senate and casts a deciding vote when a tie occurs. However, the vice-president is not a member of the Senate and does not participate in debates about bills. The true leadership in the Senate is held by the floor leaders. Each of the two political parties has a leader. The majority leader is appointed from the party holding the most seats in this house of Congress. He or she works with the minority leader to set the agenda for the Senate. In addition, each party also has whips who assist the leaders by informing other members of the Senate about upcoming bills and encouraging their party members on how to vote for particular bills.

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