Members of Congress have five roles they are expected to assume throughout their terms: legislator, representative, committee member, servant of their constituents and politician. Each role entails specific responsibilities and duties, but many of the elements of these roles overlap.
As legislators, members of Congress are expected to pass and propose laws that have a positive impact on the state or district they represent. Along the same lines, the role of committee member is an important Congressional role because laws are analyzed in committees before they are voted on.
The role of representative means a member of Congress represents the legal interests and choices of their constituents. However, there are two styles of representation in Congress: delegate and trustee. A delegate style of representation involves responding to the wishes of constituents. A trustee style involves the individual members of Congress using their own judgment when making decisions without specific reference to their constituents' wishes. The role of servant to constituents is very similar and involves serving constituents through representing a state or district in Congress.
The final role of politician involves campaigning to find out what voters want and working toward those goals. The role of politician also involves representation of the member's political party in Congress.Learn More
Members of Congress get automatic pay raises, a full pension, free parking in many parking lots and garages throughout Washington, D.C., and a lucrative 401k plan. As of 2011, a congressman's salary sat at around $174,000 per year, and with benefits, that figure jumps to around $250,000 per year.Full Answer >
Bills come from members of Congress or their constituents, which is the general people living in the area that a member represents. The ideas for bills can be presented from the state legislature, the governor and individuals within the representatives office.Full Answer >
The non-legislative powers of Congress include the abilities to amend the constitution, approve presidential appointments, investigate matters that interfere with or impede its legislative duties, impeach officials, and choose a president if no majority winner emerges as the result of an election. The Senate also must approve candidates for vice president because the vice president is also the president of the Senate.Full Answer >
The constituents of each state directly elect two people who serve in the United States Senate for 6 years and, while serving, the members enact laws that reflect the interests of their state. Elections for the Senate are held every 2 years, but they are staggered so that the Senate composition gradually changes.Full Answer >