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United States House of Representatives

The United States House of Representatives is the lower house of the United States Congress, the Senate being the upper house. Together they compose the national legislature of the United States.

The composition of the House is established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The House is composed of representatives who sit in congressional districts that are allocated to each of the 50 states on a basis of population as measured by the U.S. Census, with each district entitled to one representative. Since its inception in 1789, all representatives have been directly elected. The total number of voting representatives is fixed by law at 435. As of the 2010 Census, the largest delegation is that of California, with fifty-three representatives. Seven states have only one representative: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.

The House is charged with the passage of federal legislation, known as bills, which, after concurrence by the Senate, are sent to the president for consideration. In addition to this basic power, the House has certain exclusive powers, among them the power to initiate all bills related to revenue; the impeachment of federal officers, who are sent to trial before the Senate; and, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for president, the duty falls upon the House to elect one of the top three recipients of electors for that office, with one vote given to each state for that purpose. The House meets in the south wing of the United States Capitol.

The presiding officer is the speaker of the House, who is elected by the members thereof (and is therefore traditionally the leader of the controlling party). The speaker and other floor leaders are chosen by the Democratic Caucus or the Republican Conference, depending on whichever party has more voting members.

Source: United States House of Representatives
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