The United States of America. The Legislative Branch
Pre-reading task. Read the words. Mind the stress. A):
΄pattern au΄thority ,sepa΄ration
΄treaty ma΄chinery , mis΄use
΄borrow ad΄minister ,govern΄mental
΄levy a΄nnounce ,repre΄sentatives
΄congress con΄ceive ,con΄tinuity
΄balance con΄duct ,poli΄tician
΄senator em΄power ,indi΄vidual
΄commerce pre΄scribe ,popu΄lation
B) Complete the word building table.
1. Look through the words and expression to make sure that you know them. Learn those you don’t know
2. Read and translate the text into Ukrainian.
THE POLITICAL SYSTEM OF THE USA
The United States of America is a federal union of 50 states. Its basic law is the Constitution adopted in 1787 which remains the oldest still in force written constitution in the world. The Constitution prescribesthe structure of national government and lists its rights and fields of authority. Besides, each state has its own government. Thus, all government in America has the dual character of both Federal and State Government. The basic principle of all American government is the separation of the three branches: legislative, executive and judicial. Each branch of government holds a certain degree of power over the others, and all take part in the governmental process. The powers given to each are carefully balanced by the powers of the other two. Each branch serves as a check on the others. The so-called system of “checks and balances” is provided to keep any branch from gaining too much power or from misusing its powers.
THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH
Supreme legislative power in the American government lies with Congress, which consists of two chambers or houses – the Senate (the upper house) and the House of Representatives (the lower house). Each state has its own government, following the Washingtonpattern– State Assemblies or Legislatures with two chambers.
Congress of the United States is the legislature of the United States of America established under the Constitution of 1789 and separated structurally from the executive and judicial branches of government.
Congress has no general legislative power such as is enjoyed by the British Parliament, and to a lesser degree by the legislatures of the American states; it has only such functions and authority as are expressly conferred on it by the Constitution or are impliedin the Constitution. Many of the express powers are defined in Article 1, Section 8. Among these are the power ‘to levy and collect taxes’, ‘borrow money on the credit of the United States’, ‘regulate commerce with foreign nations and among several states’, ‘coin money’, ‘establish post offices’, ‘declare war’, ‘raise and support armies’, and ‘make all laws’ necessary for the execution of its own powers and ‘all other powers vestedby this Constitution in the government of the United States’. This Section also empowersCongress to administer the District of Columbia, which containsseat of the federal government. Other express powers are conferred on Congress in other articles of the Constitution. Among the implied powers of Congress is the right to establish legislative machinery to give effect to its express powers.
The Senate is one of the two houses of the legislature of the United States established in 1789 under the Constitution. The role of the Senate was conceived by the Founding Fathers as a check on the popularly elected House of Representatives. The US Senate has some special powers, not given to the House of Representatives. The Senate approves or disapproves major Presidential appointments of such high officials asambassadors, Cabinet ministers and federal judges. The Senate must also ratify, by a two-third vote, treaties between the USA and foreign countries.
The House of Representatives has a special power of its own. Only a member of the House can introduce a bill to raisemoney, but it must also be passed by the Senate before it can become a law.
The Senate is composed of 100 members, two from each of 50 states, who are elected for a term of six years. Although Congressional elections take place every two years, only one-third of the Senate is re-elected, thereby ensuring continuity.
The Constitution says that a Senator must be at least 30 years old, a citizen of the USA for nine years and a resident of the state from which he is elected. The individual seats in the Senate are numbered. Democrats sit in the Western part of the chamber – on Vice President’s right. Republicans sit on his left. Vice President presidesover the Senate and conducts debates. The Senate is more stable and more conservative than the House of Representatives, as many Senators are re-elected several times and often they are more experienced politicians.
The House of Representatives has 435 members. The number of Representatives which each state sends to the House depends on its population. The Constitution says that each state, no matter how small it is in population, must have at least one Representative.
A Representative must be at least 25 years of age, a US citizen for seven years and live in the state from which he is elected. Congressmen of the House do not have individual seats, by tradition Democrats sit on the Speaker’s right, Republicans – on his left. The Speaker presides over the House and conducts debates. The Speaker, like the Vice-President in the Senate, may vote, but usually he does not do it, except in case of a tie-vote.
Votes are taken in American Congress in four different ways. Usually the Speaker or the Vice-President says, ‘As many as are in favour say ‘Aye’!’ and then, ‘As many as are opposed say ‘No’!’ In most case it is enough. But if there is a doubt those in favour are asked to stand up and they are counted. The Speaker or the Vice President does the counting in his chamber and announces the result. If there is still doubt, two tellers are appointed. The fourth way is the roll-call, where the names of all Congressmen are called out and they answer ‘Aye’ or ‘No’.
3. Give Ukrainian equivalents to the following words and expressions:
to remain the oldest still in force written Constitution; dual character of both state and federal government; to serve as a check; to follow the pattern; to enjoy legislative power; to define express powers; to confer express powers; to be implied in the Constitution; to preside over the House; popularly elected; to collect taxes; to coin money; to raise armies; to vest powers; to administer the District of Columbia; to establish the legislative machinery; to give effect; to approve/disapprove major appointments; a two-third vote; to raise money; to do the counting.
4. Find in the text the words or expressions that mean the following:
Сфера повноважень; певна міра влади; система стримувань і противаг; запобігати отриманню надмірної влади; зловживання владою; верхня палата; нижня палата; Законодавчі збори штату; у меншій мірі; контролювати торгівлю; утримувати збройні сили; резиденція федерального уряду; батьки-засновники; високопосадовці; висунути проект закону; забезпечити послідовність, послідовну зміну; вести засідання; досвідчені політики; місце в парламенті; рівна кількість голосів; бути „за”; бути „проти”; якщо є сумнів; рахівник; виклик поіменно.
Make up your own sentences with the expressions given above.
5. A: Fill in the appropriate word from the list below.
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