|The unit covers the questions of legislative power. Legislative branch of a government together with executive and judiciary is | |another key branch in the separation of powers. | |The unit is composed of texts on issues of legislative branch including materials on the US Congress and Parliament of | |Lithuania. The texts are followed with language activities and glossary related to the topic in question. The unit also provides | |listening tasks on the materials taken from VOA Learning English and internet grammar activities.
| |The learning objectives of this unit are: | |to understand the essence of the term “legislative power”; | |to read the materials dealing with the question of legislative power which is vested in the Congress of the USA and Parliament of | |Lithuania; | |to do all the activities related to the acquisition of the necessary vocabulary; | |to listen to the audio news report; | |to learn the basic vocabulary necessary to speak, read and listen on different aspects related to legislative power. | United States Congress 1.
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislative institution of the federal government of the United States of America. It consists of two houses, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election. The Congress meets in the U. S. Capitol in Washington, D. C. The House of Representatives consists of 435 members who represent a district and serve a two-year term. House seats are apportioned among the states by population. Every state is constitutionally guaranteed at least one seat.
The 100 Senators serve staggered six-year terms. Each state has two senators, regardless of population. Every two years, approximately one-third of the Senate is elected. 2. Article I of the US Constitution sets forth most of the powers of Congress, which include numerous explicit powers. Constitutional amendments have granted Congress additional powers. Congress also has implied powers. 3. The US Constitution vests all legislative power in the Congress. The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process.
Legislation cannot be enacted without the consent of both the House and the Senate. The Congress has the power to make all laws which are necessary and proper for carrying into execution all other powers vested by the US Constitution in the government of the United States. 4. However, the Constitution grants each chamber some unique powers. The Senate is responsible for ratifying treaties and approving top presidential appointments. Revenue-raising bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
The House of Representatives also has the sole power of impeachment, while the Senate has the sole power to try impeachment cases. 5. Congress has authority over financial and budgetary matters. It lays and collects taxes, duties, imposts and excises, pays the debts and provides for the common defense and general welfare of the United States. The Sixteenth Amendment extended power of taxation to include income taxes. The Congress also has the authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, and coin money.
6. The power of the purse is one of Congress’ primary checks on the executive branch. It plays a critical role in the relationship of the United States Congress and the President of the United States, and has been the main historic tool by which Congress can limit executive power. One of the most recent examples is a controversial discussion regarding Congressional opposition to the Iraq War. On March 23, 2007, the U. S. House of Representatives passed a supplemental war budget that imposed a timeline on the presence of American combat troops in Iraq.
However, the legislation was not implemented. 7. The Constitution also gives Congress an important role in national defense, including the exclusive power to declare war, to raise and maintain the armed forces, and to make rules for the military. The US President is commander-in-chief of the military, with the Department of Defense, headed by the Secretary of Defense, as the principal organ by which military policy is carried out. 8. Congress also has the power to establish post offices and post roads, issue patents and copyrights, fix standards of weights and measures.
Another power is to establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court, which is the highest judicial body in the United States, and which leads the federal judiciary. The power to admit new states to the Union is vested in the Congress too. 9. One of the foremost non-legislative functions of the Congress is the power to investigate and to oversee the executive branch. Congressional oversight is usually delegated to committees and is facilitated by Congress’ subpoena power. Congress also has the exclusive power of removal, allowing impeachment and removal of the President, federal judges and other federal officers.
In the United States, impeachment can occur both at the federal and state level. The Constitution defines impeachment at the federal level and limits impeachment to “The President, Vice President, and all civil officers of the United States” who may only be impeached and removed for “treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors”. Sources: Adapted from: United States Congress. (2008 12 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 15:50, December 16, 2008 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/United_States_Congress United States congressional apportionment (2008 12 16).
In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:15, December 16, 2008 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/United_States_congressional_apportionment Power of the purse. (2008 12 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 17:15, December 16, 2008 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Power_of_the_purse Impeachment. (2008 12 16). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16:35, December 16, 2008 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Impeachment Tasks. Task 1. Match the headings (a-j) to the paragraphs (1 – 9). One heading is extra. a. Financial powers of the Congress. b.
The impeachment power of the Congress. c. The US Congress and its structure. d. The power to safeguard the country. e. The power to issue driver’s license. f. Control on the executive. g. Types of powers vested in the Congress. h. Legislative power of the congress. i. Other powers of the Congress j. Unique powers carried out by Congress chambers. Task 2. Read the statements and decide if they are true or false. |1. |The US Congress is the unicameral legislative institution. | | |2. |The Senators and members of the House of Representatives are elected by Electoral College. | | |3.
|The meeting venue of the Congress is New York. | | |4. |The seats in the Senate are apportioned among the states by population. | | |5. |The House and Senate are equal partners in the legislative process. | | |6. |The Congress also has the authority to coin money. | | |7. |The Congress does not have the exclusive power to declare war. | | |8. |The President of the US can only be impeached for high crimes and misdemeanors. | | |9. |Only the US President has the power to admit new states to the Union | | |10. |The US Supreme Court is the highest judicial body in the United States.
| | Task 3. Match the words or phrases with their definitions. |1. bicameral |a. to distribute or allocate proportionally | |2. meet |b. question or issue | |3. apportion |c. to found, institute, build, or bring into being | |4. legislative |d. to join at an agreed or designated place or time | |5. matter |e. the judicial branch of government | |6. excise |f. supervision; watchful care | |7. oversight |g. to fulfill, perform, carry out | |8. establish |h. having two branches, chambers, or houses, as a legislative body | |9. judiciary |i. having the function of making laws | |10.
implement |j. an internal tax or duty | Task 4. Match words in “A” with words in “B” and make word partnerships. A B |1. bicameral |a) government | |2. direct |b) courts | |3. legislative |c) term | |4. federal |d) process | |5. staggered |e) institution | |6. inferior |f) election | |7. serve |g) patents | |8. vest |h) cases | |
9. issue |i) standards | |10. fix |j) term | |11. impose |k) timeline | |12. try |l) powers | Glossary admit amendment apportion bicameral bribery chamber coin (v) consent controversial court crime high crime defense duty enact equal establish excise explicit facilitate forces (n) armed forces impeachment implement implied impost inferior investigate issue (v) limit (v) measure (n) meet misdemeanor oversee oversight patent represent policy ratify removal revenue seat (n) senator serve staggered standard subpoena supplemental tax income tax taxation tool treason treaty weight welfare Seimas 1. The Seimas is the Lithuanian parliament. It is the legislative institution of the country. It has 141 members and they are elected for a four-year term on the basis of universal, equal, and direct suffrage by secret ballot.
About half of the members of this legislative body are elected in individual constituencies (71), and the other half (70) are elected by nationwide vote according to proportional representation. A party must receive at least 5%, and a multi-party union at least 7%, of the national vote to be represented in the Seimas. The Seimas is deemed elected when not less than 3/5 of the members of the Seimas have been elected. The Seimas election procedure is established by law. 2. The qualifications for becoming a member of the Seimas include age, citizenship and loyalty to the country.
It means that any citizen of the Republic of Lithuania who is not bound by an oath or pledge to a foreign state, and who, on the election day, is not younger than 25 years of age and permanently resides in Lithuania, may be elected a Member of the Seimas. Persons who have not fulfilled punishment imposed by a court judgment, as well as persons recognized incapable by court may not be elected members of the Seimas. 3. The term of powers of members of the Seimas begins from the day on which the newly-elected Seimas convenes for the first sitting.
The elected member of the Seimas acquires all the rights of a representative of the Nation only after taking an oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania. The duties of a Member of the Seimas, with the exception of his duties at the Seimas, are incompatible with any other duties at State institutions and organizations as well as with work in business, commercial and other private establishments or enterprises. A member of the Seimas may only be appointed either as the Prime Minister or a Minister.
The work of a member of the Seimas as well as all the expenses relating to his parliamentary activities are remunerated from the State Budget. A member of the Seimas may not receive any other remuneration, with the exception of remuneration for creative activities. The duties, rights and guarantees of the activities of a member of the Seimas are established by law. 4. Members of the Seimas in Lithuania are inviolable. They may not be held criminally liable, arrested, nor may their freedom be otherwise restricted without the consent of the Seimas. A Member of the Seimas may not be persecuted for his voting or his speeches at the Seimas.
However, he may be held liable according to the general procedure for personal insult or slander. 5. Every year, the Seimas convenes for two regular sessions—spring session and autumn session. The spring session usually commences on March 10th and ends on June 30th. The autumn session usually commences on September 10th and ends on December 23rd. The Seimas may decide to prolong a session. Extraordinary sessions are convened by the Speaker of the Seimas on the proposal of not less than one-third of all the members of the Seimas, and, in cases provided for in the Constitution, by the President of the Republic.
6. The key responsibility of Lithuanian Seimas is to make laws. The Seimas has the right of legislative initiative. It also considers and adopts amendments to the Constitution of Lithuania. The power of appointment covers the right of the Seimas to establish State institutions provided for by law and appoint or dismiss their heads, establish and abolish ministries of the Republic of Lithuania, appoint justices and Presidents of the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Court of the Republic, appoint and dismiss the State Controller and the Chairman of the Board of the Bank of Lithuania.
It also gives assent or rejects the candidature of the Prime Minister submitted by the President of the Republic. The power of supervision includes control of the activities of the Government. The Seimas may express no-confidence in the Prime Minister or a Minister. The budgetary power of the Seimas gives the right to approve or reject the State Budget and supervise its execution, as well as establish State taxes and other compulsory payments. The power to deal with international matters includes ratification and denouncement of international treaties of the Republic of Lithuania and consideration of other issues of foreign policy.
Other powers of the Seimas include establishment of administrative division of the Republic, establishment of State awards, the right to declare state of emergency, etc. 7. Members of the Seimas belong to different political parties and groups. The major parties are Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats and Social Democratic Party of Lithuania. Other political groups include National Resurrection Party, Order and Justice, Labour Party, Liberal and Centre Union, Lithuanian Peasant Popular Union, and others. Sources: Adapted from: Seimas. (2009 03 23). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia.
Retrieved 9:20, March 23, 2009 from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Parliament_of_Lithuania Constitution of the Republic of Lithuania. (2009 03 23). Retrieved 12. 00, March 23, 2009 from http://www3. lrs. lt/home/Konstitucija/Constitution. htm Tasks. Task 1. Match the headings (a-h) to the paragraphs (1 – 7). One heading is extra. a. Duties and rights of a Seimas member. b. The organization of the Seimas work. c. Inviolability of a member of the Seimas. d. Separation of powers in the Seimas. e. General information on the Seimas. f. Powers of the Seimas. g. Qualifications for becoming a member of Seimas. h.
Political picture of Lithuanian Seimas. Task 2. Read the statements and decide if they are true or false. |1. |The Seimas is the legislative institution of Lithuania. | | |2. |The Seimas is deemed elected when not less than half of the members of the Seimas have been elected. | | |3. |Foreign nationals are eligible to become members of the Seimas. | | |4. |Persons recognised incapable by court may not be elected members of the Seimas. | | |5. |Members of the Seimas have to take oath to be faithful to the Republic of Lithuania. | | |6. |The duties and rights of a member of the Seimas are established by law.
| | | | | | |7. |The Seimas members may be held criminally liable. | | |8. |The Seimas works in three regular sessions every year: autumn, winter and spring. | | |9. |The Seimas has the sole responsibility to appoint the President of Lithuania. | | |10. |Members of the Seimas belong to different political parties and groups. | | Task 3. Find the words in the text which have a similar meaning. 1. right to vote 2. devotion 3. promise 4. pay 5. agreement 6. cancel 7. trust 8. vote to accept 9. mandatory 10. alteration Task 4. Choose the right word or phrase to fill in the gaps in the sentences.
Three words are extra. |legislative commences liable amendments | |ballot candidature established denounce oath | |consideration convenes emergency eligible | 1. Seimas is the ____________institution of Lithuania. 2. Elections to the Seimas are universal, direct, equal by secret ____________. 3. The election procedure is _______________ by law. 4. A citizen of Lithuania may not become a member of the Seimas if he/she is bound by ____________ or pledge to a foreign country. 5. The term of powers of members of the Seimas begins from the day on which the newly-elected Seimas ____________for the first sitting. 6.
The spring session usually _______________on March 10th. 7. The Seimas considers and adopts ____________to the Constitution of Lithuania. 8. The Seimas has the power to ratify or _______________ international treaties. 9. The right to declare state of ______________ is the prerogative of the Seimas. 10. A member of the Seimas can be held _____________according to the general procedure for personal insult or slander. Glossary to the text. abolish amendment appoint award be bound commence (in)compatible compulsory confidence constituency convene dismiss enterprise establishment exception execution faithful initiative insult liable legislative payment permanently persecute prolong reject representation proportional representation reside restrict Listening tasks.
Task 1. Listen to the VOA news report “G-20 Leaders Promise Measures to Fight Global Recession” http://www. voanews. com/specialenglish/2009-04-02-voa2. cfm Task 2. Find whether the following statements are “true” or “false”. |1. |The venue of the summit was London. | | |2. |The leaders of the summit discussed how to control banks. | | |3. |The participants of the summit decided to form a supervisory group which will warn of the problems in | | | |the world financial system.
| | |4. |Western countries think that developing nations are important partners in the effort to get the world | | | |economy growing again. | | |5. |The currency most commonly used in foreign trade is the euro. | | |6. |Forty years ago the International Monetary Fund created the Special Drawing Right, or S. D. R. | | |7. |Today the I. M. F. mainly use S. D. R. as an accounting tool. | | |8. |Russian President Dmitri Medvedev called for a study of making a rouble a new reserve currency. | | |9. |Most world experts see a threat to the dollar. | | |10. |The G-20 is nineteen countries and the European Union.
| | Task 3. Find the words in the text that have a similar meaning. |1. |make stronger | | |2. |an important formal meeting between leaders of governments | | |3. |a person in control of a country | | |4. |a set of ideas or a plan of what to do in particular situation | | |5. |the money that is used in a particular country | | |6. |change by something else | | |7. |to strongly advise or try to persuade someone | | |8. |relating to the whole world | | |9. |relating to a particular area or part of the world | | |10. |something that helps you to do a particular activity | |