Skip to main content Skip to Search Box
Summary Article: House of Representatives
From The SAGE Glossary of the Social and Behavioral Sciences

One of the two legislative chambers created through Article I of the U.S. Constitution. The House of Representatives, which comprises Congress, was created to set checks on the Senate. The House is granted the power to initiate bills to impose taxes, impeach officials, elect the President in electoral college deadlocks, and authorize the expenditure of federal funds.

In 1911, Congress fixed the size of the House of Representatives at 435 seats. House members are elected every two years from the 50 states. Under Article I, Section 2 of the Constitution, seats in the House of Representatives are determined in each state based on the size of the population in the state, which is determined by the census every 10 years. The number of members is not to exceed 1 for every 30,000 of population. Each state has at least one representative. California has the most representatives at 53.

Representatives must be at least 25 years of age, a resident of the United States for 7 years, and a resident of the state from which he or she is elected.

The House of Representatives has eight leadership positions; the most prestigious is the Speaker of the House. The Speaker is the leader of the House and pre sides over debates and also appoints committee mem bers.

See also

Congress, Electoral College, Senate

Copyright © 2009 by SAGE Publications, Inc.

Related Articles

Full text Article House of Representatives
The Princeton Encyclopedia of American Political History

The House of Representatives is often considered to be Americas most democratic institution. Since the founding of the American government in 1789,

Women in American Politics: History and Milestones

The U.S. House of Representatives, modeled on Britain's House of Commons, was intended to represent the will of common people. Unlike the members...

Full text Article House of Representatives
Dictionary of American Government and Politics

The United States House of Representatives is one of the two chambers of the Congress. Its 435 members are distributed according to population so th

See more from Credo