What are the responsibilities of the House of Representatives?


Quick Answer

As one half of the United States government's legislative branch, the chief responsibility of the House of Representatives is to pass federal laws. The House of Representatives comprises congressmen and congresswomen elected to represent and serve the interests of their particular district. These representatives are responsible for voting on as well as proposing, bills, resolutions and amendments.

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Full Answer

Since it is the responsibility of the House of Representatives to represent public interest, it is sometimes referred to as "the people's house." In theory, their loyalty to the people is sustained by a short re-election cycle of just 2 years.

The number of congressmen or women representing each state is proportionate to each state's population. As a result, states with small populations, such as Alaska and Vermont, have only one representative each, whereas California has 54. The maximum number of congressmen or women with voting rights in the House of Representatives has been capped at 435 since 1913.

In addition to these state representatives, one delegate each is permitted for the District of Columbia, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is represented by a resident commissioner. While all six of these representatives share many of the same powers as state representatives, none are permitted to vote on matters officially submitted to the House of Representatives.

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