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TEXT 2 Qualifications of Members of Congress

The Constitution requires that U.S. (1) ______ must be at least 30 years of age,

citizens of the United States for at least nine years, and (2) _____ of the states from

which they are elected. Members of the House of (3) _____ must be at least 25, citi­
zens for seven years, and residents of the states from which they are elected. The states

may set additional (4) ______ for election to Congress, but the Constitution gives each

house the power to determine the (5) ______ of its members.

Each (6) _________ is entitled to two senators. Thus, Rhode Island, the smallest

state, with an area of about 3,156 square (7) _________ , has the same senatorial (8)

__________ as Alaska, the biggest state, with an area of some 1,524,640 (9) ____

kilometers. Wyoming, with an estimated 480,000 persons, has representation equal to that of
California, with its (10) _______ of 32,270,000.

The total (11) _____ of members of the (12) _____ of Representatives has been

determined by Congress. That number is divided among the (13) __ according to their

populations. Regardless of its population, every state is (14) ____ guaranteed at least

one member of the House. At present, seven states – Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North

Dakota, (15) ____ Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming – have only one (16) _ . On the

other hand, six (17) ____ have more than 20 representatives – California alone has 52.

Exercise 8. Work in pairs. Translate the following two texts into Ukrainian. Use Vocabulary 3–4 and Exercises 3A–4A in case of difficulties.


The Constitution provides for a national census each 10 years and a redistribution of House seats according to population shifts. Under the original constitutional provision, the

number of representatives was to be no more than one for each 30,000 citizens. There were 65 members in the first House, and the number was increased to 106 after the first census. Had the l-to–30,000 formula been adhered to permanently, population growth in the United States would have brought the total number of representatives to about 7,000. Instead, the formula has been adjusted over the years, and today the ratio of representatives to people is about l-to–600,000.

State legislatures divide the states into congressional districts, which must be substan­tially equal in population. Every two years, the voters of each district choose a representative for Congress.

Senators are chosen in statewide elections held in even-numbered years. The senatorial term is six years, and every two years one-third of the Senate stands for election. Hence, two-thirds of the senators are always persons with some legislative experience at the nation­al level.

It is theoretically possible for the House to be composed entirely of legislative novices. In practice, however, most members are reelected several times, and the House, like the Senate, can always count on a core group of experienced legislators.

Since members of the House serve two-year terms, the life of a Congress is considered to be two years. The Twentieth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution provides that the Congress will convene in regular session each January 3, unless Congress fixes a different date. The Congress remains in session until its members vote to adjourn – usually late in the year. The president may call a special session when he thinks it necessary. Sessions are held in the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.


The broad powers of the whole Congress are spelled out in Article I of the Constitution: To levy and collect taxes; To borrow money for the public treasury;

To make rules and regulations governing commerce among the states and with for­eign countries;

To make uniform rules for the naturalization of foreign citizens; To coin money, state its value, and provide for the punishment of counterfeiters; To set the standards (of weights and measures); To establish bankruptcy laws for the country as a whole; To establish post offices and post roads; To issue patents and copyrights; To set up a system of federal courts; To punish piracy; To declare war; To raise and support armies; To provide for a navy; To call out the militia to enforce federal laws, suppress lawlessness, or repel invasions;

· To make all laws for the seat of government (Washington, D.C),

· To make all laws necessary to enforce the Constitution.

A few of these powers are now outdated, but they remain in effect. The Tenth Amend­ment sets definite limits on congressional authority, by providing that powers not delegated to the national government are reserved to the states or to the people. In addition, the Constitu­tion specifically forbids certain acts by Congress. It may not:

· Suspend the writ of habeas corpus – a requirement that those accused of crimes
be brought before a judge or court before being imprisoned – unless necessary in time of
rebellion or invasion;

· Pass laws that condemn persons for crimes or unlawful acts without a trial;

· Pass any law that retroactively makes a specific act a crime;

· Levy direct taxes on citizens, except on the basis of a census already taken;

· Tax exports from any one state;

· Give specially favorable treatment in commerce or taxation to the seaports of any
state or to the vessels using them;

· Authorize any titles of nobility.


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