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United States Congress

house, senators, vote and senate

CONGRESS, UNITED STATES, the only legislative body of the nation, is composed of two houses: the senate, having two members from each state; and the house of representatives, having a membership based on population (see APPORTIONMENT BILL, though every state must have at least one member. Senators are chosen by the state legislatures, the two houses of a legislature holding a joint meeting or jointly voting on the same day; elections are by ballot; senators must be at least 30 years of age on taking their seats, and their term of office is six years. There being now (1880) 38 states, there are 76 senators. They are paid $5,000 a year with a small allowance for stationery and mileage. The vice-president of the United States is the presiding officer of the senate, but he has no vote unless in the case of a tie. The senate has equal power with the house in legislation, except that bills for revenue purposes must originate in the latter body. The senate has the sole power of trying impeachments. When the president is impeached, the chief-justice of the United States supreme court must preside, and the vote of two thirds of the senators present is requisite to a verdict of conviction. The house of representatives now con-ists of 293 members, in the following numbers from the several states: New York 33!Penrisylvania 27, Ohio 20, Illinois 19, Indiana and Missouri 13 each, Massachusetts 11, Kentucky and Tennessee 10 each, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, and Virginia, 9 each; Alabama. forth Carolina, and Wisconsin, 8 each;

New Jersey 7; Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, and Texas, 6 each; Arkansas, Cal ifornia, and Connecticut, 4 each; Kansas, Minnesota, Vermont, West Virginia, and New Hampshire, 3 each; Florida and Rhode Island, 2 each; Colorado, Delaware, Nebraska, Nevada, and Oregon, 1 each. The apportionment to follow the census of 1880 will greatly change these numbers; the states w. of Ohio will have a very large increase, while the southern states must lose heavily, and some of the eastern states also may lose. Members of the house are chosen in separate districts by popular vote, and their term is two years. The house elects one of its number to be speaker, or pre siding officer. The course of legislation need not be explained. In case of a veto by the president, it requires a two-thirds vote in each house to re-enact the bill. _Members of the house must be 25 years old. They arc paid the same as senators. The whole number of members of the house has been regulated by the decennial apportionments as follows: In 1789, 65 members; in 1793, 105; 1803, 141; 1813, 181; 1823, 213; 1833, 240; 1843, 223; 1853. 234; 1863, 243; 1873, 293. Under the first apportionment there was one member to 30,000 citizens; under the last, one member to 131,425.