The Legislative Branch is made up of the two houses of Congress—the Senate and the House of Representatives. The most important duty of the legislative branch is to make laws. Laws are written and voted on in Congress.
The United States Senate
There are 100 senators in the Senate, two from each state. Senators are elected by their states and serve six-year terms. The Vice President of the U.S. is considered the head of the Senate, but does not vote in the Senate unless there is a tie. The Senate approves nominations made by the President to the Cabinet, the Supreme Court, federal courts and other posts. The Senate must also ratify all treaties made by the President by a two-thirds vote.
The United States House of Representatives
There are 435 representatives in the House of Representatives. The number of representatives each state gets is based on its population. When Census figures determine that the population of a state has changed significantly, the number of representatives in that state may shift proportionately. Representatives are elected by their states and serve two-year terms. The Speaker of the House, elected by the representatives, is considered the head of the House.
Both parties in the Senate and the House of Representatives elect leaders. The leader of the party that controls the house is called the Majority Leader. The other party leader is called the Minority Leader.