•What is a term of Congress?
•How have sessions of Congress changed over time?
The Constitution creates a bicameral legislature for three reasons:
Historical: The British Parliament consisted of two houses since the 1300s, and many colonial assemblies were similar in form.
Practical: A bicameral legislature was necessary to compromise the Virginia and New Jersey plans of representation.
Theoretical: The Framers favored a bicameral Congress in order that one house might act as a check on the other.
Terms and Sessions
A term is the length of time that officials serve after an election, as in a two- or six-year term.
The date for the start of each new term has been set by the Twentieth Amendment (1933) as “noon of the 3rd day of January” of every odd-numbered year.
A session is the regular period of time during which Congress conducts business.
Congress adjourns, or suspends until the next session, each regular session as it sees fit.
If necessary, the President has the power to prorogue, or adjourn, a session, but only when the two houses cannot agree on a date for adjournment.
Only the President may call Congress into a special session—a meeting to deal with some emergency situation.
True or False The Constitution prohibits one house of Congress from adjourning a session for more than three days without the consent of the other house.
The regular period of time during which Congress conducts its business is called a
a. prorogue. c. special session.
b. session. d. term.
The Framers of the Constitution favored bicameralism because
a. two houses could block the acts of a single President.
b. it allowed for fair and equal representation of the States at the national level.
c. Great Britain had only one house of Parliament.
d. one house would spend more money than two.
Answers: T / B / B