EL Civics for ESL Students

U.S. House of Representatives Lesson

EL Civics History and Government
Inside U.S. House of Representatives

Joint Session of Congress - Both Houses

U.S. Capitol Building - Shows Both Wings


1. Voters elect U.S. Representatives in even-numbered years, on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November.

2. Representatives make $174,000 per year (2009). They have the same health and retirement benefits as other federal employees.

3. The House can expel a member with a two-thirds vote. When a member is expelled he or she is removed from office.

4. The District of Columbia and the U.S. Territories do not have representation in either House of Congress.

5. Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution sets three qualifications for representatives: (1) be at least twenty-five years old; (2) have been a citizen of the United States for the past seven years; and (3) be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they represent.

  • The U.S. Congress is divided into two parts: the Senate and the House of Representatives.
  • The Senate is the upper house and the House of Representatives is the lower house.
  • Some states have more representatives than other states. This is because they have more people.
  • Representatives are elected for two years and they represent the people in their districts.
  • The House meets in the south wing of the capitol building.
  • The capitol is located in Washington, D.C.
  • Congress was divided into two parts to allow smaller states to have equal influence in the Senate and to allow more populated states to be well represented in The House.
  • Congress is the legislative branch of the U.S. government. It makes federal laws.
  • The powers of the House are found in the U.S. Constitution.
  • Powers of the House include: the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach officials, and elect the president in Electoral College deadlocks.
  • Bills may be introduced in either House of Congress; however, tax bills must originate in the House of Representatives.
  • Both Houses of Congress must approve a bill before it can become law.
  • The leader of The House is the Speaker. The current Speaker of the House of Representatives is John Boehner.
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