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Legislative

Legislative Branch

The Legislative Branch consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, which collectively form the United States Congress. The Constitution grants Congress the sole authority to enact legislation and declare war, the right to confirm or reject Presidential appointments, and substantial investigative powers.

The House of Representatives is composed of 435 elected members from the 50 states in proportion to their total population. There are also 6 non-voting members who represent the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and four other American territories.

The Senate is made up of 100 Senators, with two senators from each state. Until the ratification of the 17th Amendment in 1913. The Vice President serves as the President of the Senate and provides the decisive vote in the event of a tie.

Together, the House of Representatives and the Senate are the lawmakers of the nation. Any piece of legislation must pass through both houses of Congress before it is either vetoed or signed into law by the President.

It is vitally important that Americans pray for wisdom and understanding on behalf of the lawmakers of their nation.

Featured Member of the Legislative Branch for Prayer

Chris Van Hollen, Senator from Maryland

Christopher “Chris” Van Hollen, Jr., was born in January 1959 in Karachi, Pakistan, where his father was a Foreign Service officer and U.S. Ambassador to Sri Lanka and the Maldives, and his mother worked for the Central Intelligence Agency. He spent parts of his early life in Pakistan, Turkey, India and Sri Lanka, returning to the U.S. for his junior year of high school. He is an alumnus of the Kodaikamal International School in southern India. He earned a B.A. in philosophy from Swarthmore College, and a Master of Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He received his Juris Doctor from the Georgetown University Law Center.

Van Hollen worked as a legislative assistant for Maryland Senator Charles Mathias, and was a staff member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. He also engaged in the private practice of law.

He served in the Maryland General Assembly, first in the House of Delegates and later in the State Senate. He served fourteen years in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to the U.S. Senate, where he assumed his seat in January 2017.

Van Hollen and his wife Katherine have three children. He is an Episcopalian.

 

IN THE NEWS

After a video showing a passenger being dragged from a United Airlines flight went viral, Senator Chris Van Hollen of Maryland said, “If you have a situation like this in the future, the airline does not have the right to come up to a passenger and say, ‘Hey, you’ve gotta get off this airplane.”

The incident stirred him to introduce the “Customers Not Cargo Act” in the Senate. He said airlines should increase the amount of money they’re willing to offer to get volunteers to give up their seats on overbooked flights. “There will be a point that passengers do that on a voluntary basis,” Van Hollen said.

The incident has sparked widespread outrage, calls for congressional hearings, and a petition urging United’s CEO to resign. The legislation would prohibit airlines from forcibly removing passengers from flights to make room for other customers after they have already boarded the plane.

 






US Congress

Legislative Branch Prayer Needs

Rep. Peter King praised Homeland Security Secretary Kelly for the department’s renewed commitment to combatting terrorism and enforcing border laws.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed as “window dressing” President Trump’s executive order to study H-1B visa programs, urging comprehensive immigration reform.

Pray for members of Congress as they return from their Easter recess next Monday.