Thursday, 23 February 2012
Monday was President's Day - so this week will see the Chambers in the US Capitol Building silent. Actually that's not true, there will be regular tours (I've assisted with one tour - though my regular experience is with tours of the Palace of Westminster) going through the chambers - and as a former parliamentary staffer, I know that a "recess" doesn't mean that work halts (I remember the occasion when one MP walked into his office just as the House had risen for the summer recess and declared - "now that's that's over, we can get down to some work"!).
One of the values gained from reading the US Constitution is that a clearer picture can be gained of the 'architecture' of the institutions. The Constitution sets out the roles of each institution (Art 1 Section 1 - "All legislative powers shall be vested in..."); its powers - see Art 1 Sect 8; it's makeup (the bodies within the institution - Congress = House of Representatives + Senate) - and who is eligible to be a Member (both in terms of qualifications and election)...
Have a read of Article One