Roles and Duties of a Member of Congress: Brief Overview
The duties carried out by a Member of Congress are understood to include representation, legislation, and constituent service and education, as well as political and electoral activities. The expectations and duties of a member of Congress are extensive, encompassing several roles that could be full-time jobs by themselves.
Despite the acceptance of these roles and other activities as facets of the Member’s job, there is no formal set of requirements or official explanation of what roles might be played as Members carry out the duties of their offices. In the absence of formal authorities, many of the responsibilities that Members of Congress have assume over the years have evolved from the expectations of Members and their constituents.
Upon election to Congress, Members typically develop approaches to their jobs that serve a wide range of roles and responsibilities. Given the dynamic nature of the congressional experience, priorities placed on various Member roles tend to shift in response to changes in seniority, committee assignment, policy focus, district or state priorities, institutional leadership, and electoral pressures. In response, the roles and specific duties a Member carries out are often highlighted or de-emphasized accordingly.
Although elements of all the roles described can be found among the duties performed by any Senator or Representative, the degree to which each is carried out differs among Members. Each Member may also emphasize different duties during different stages of his or her career. With no written requirements, each Member is free to define his or her own job and set his or her own priorities.
The U.S. Senate proposes and considers new laws, approves or rejects presidential nominations, provides advice and consent on international treaties, and serves as the high court for impeachment trials. Although the U.S. House of Representatives also works on new legislation, only the Senate performs the other three duties.
As part of its legislative duties, the Senate introduces bills and resolutions, or it considers legislation proposed by the House. A Senate committee usually examines and discusses a bill and then accepts or rejects it. The full Senate votes on accepted bills. If the bill is approved by the full Senate and originated in the Senate, the bill is sent to the House for consideration. If the approved bill originated in the House, the bill is sent to the president for his signature or veto.
Other Senate duties are related to its obligation to check and balance other parts of the federal government. Before the president can appoint people to certain positions, including member of the Cabinet, justices of the Supreme Court, other federal judges, and ambassadors, the Senate must consent to the appointments. By two-thirds vote, the Senate must also approve treaties that the executive branch makes with foreign governments. Although only the House of Representatives has the power to impeach a government official or charge the official with misconduct, the Senate holds the impeachment trial to determine whether the official is guilty of the charge.
Quote of the day:
"If someone asks about your educational background, proclaim boldly that:
church is my college, Heaven is my university, Father God is my counselor, Jesus is
my principal, Holy Spirit is my teacher, Angels are my classmates.
Bible is my textbook. Temptations are my exams, Overcoming Satan is my hobby.
Winning souls for God is my assignment. Receiving eternity is my degree.
Praise and worship are my slogan. If you are a child of God bless you"
Dr. Ben Carson
We pray for many of of our U.S. Representative to know Jesus
as their personal savior.