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The legislative branch of the US government as prescribed in Article I of the US constitution.It is made up of two houses - the 435-member House of Representatives and 100-member Senate - each of which officially has equal power, if not prestige.

A congressional period lasts two years (or sessions) and begins at noon on 3 January of odd-numbered years.

As well as drafting and implementing laws, Congress can also:

- Investigate matters of public concern

- Oversee federal agencies and their programmes

- Declare war

- Approve and ratify treaties

- Regulate commerce

- Increase and decrease taxes

- Print and appropriate money

- Confirm/approve judicial and federal appointments and nominations

- Impeach federal officials including the president and vice-president

- Override presidential vetoes based on a two-thirds majority in each chamber.