2 The Cost of Congress First, we look at what it takes to join the team—to become a member of the House or Senate—from age requirements to the oath of office (spoiler alert— you won’t find “allegiance to political party” anywhere in it) and even succes- sion planning. Next, we explore how those who represent us actually represent us. How do the ethnicity, gender, and religion of those we pay to represent us correspond to our ethnicity, gender, and religious preferences? How does a composite of Congress compare to a composite of their constituents? After examining the composition of the teams, we look at the players’ positions—their responsibilities. The Constitution provides a detailed description of the duties and obligations of members of Congress, both as members of the franchise and as members of the team. Of course, lawmakers have tweaked those directives to more adequately meet their preferences as the years have progressed. We close the chapter with a look at those reforms. This chapter is a snapshot of Congress as our founders defined it in the Constitution. It affords an introductory snapshot of the teams and their play- ers and how they compare to their fans. It also offers a fundamental under- standing of the game itself, how it has evolved since it was formed, and how the players have tried (and often failed) to direct its development. We begin to get an idea of what to look for as we follow the money in subsequent chapters. Congress, First and Foremost The very beginning of the Constitution, Article 1, Section 1, says it all: All Legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and a House of Representatives. —The U.S. Constitution, transcribed, in The National Archives The United States Constitution It seems that everyone has their own interpretation of some of the more well-known amendments to the Constitution. Have you ever looked to see what they really say? It’s simple! The National Archives is the government’s depository for original records of everything that has happened in our nation since we won our independence. You can read the Constitution as it was written on their website https://www.archives .gov/founding-docs/constitution A transcribed version is available at https://www.archives.gov/founding -docs/constitution-transcript And you can get a pocket version from bookstores and a host of other sources, including www.ConstitutionFacts.com
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