Who Makes Laws?


Quick Answer

The legislative branch of the U.S. government, collectively known as Congress, has the authority to make federal laws in the United States, according to attorney Lloyd Duhaime and iCivics. Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution gives lawmaking powers to the Senate and House of Representatives as two chambers of Congress.

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Full Answer

Congress is comprised of 100 senators, 435 representatives and six delegates, as of November 2014. Each state elects two senators. States apportion representatives based on their population. Six non-voting delegates to the House of Representatives come from the five island U.S. territories and the District of Columbia, according to GovTrack. Voters in each state elect members of Congress, and senators serve six years per term, while representatives serve two-year terms.

Bills in Congress become laws after both houses in Congress agree on a bill's verbiage and the president of the United States signs the document, according to the Library of Congress. Congress can override a president's veto with a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers.

Once a law passes, the executive branch of the U.S. government enforces the laws, and the judicial branch interprets laws when litigation arises from a legal dispute, as stated by Duhaime. Congress can repeal laws, propose amendments to the Constitution and create public policy. State legislatures and city councils also create laws for the jurisdictions they serve.

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