In late October, 2023 long-time United States House Representative Earl Blumenauer announced he would not be seeing reelection for Oregon’s 3rd Congressional District seat. Rep. Blumenauer first won election to Congress in 1996, after serving in the Oregon House of Representatives, on the Multnomah County Commission and as a member of Portland City Council. By the end of Rep. Blumenauer’s 2024 Congressional term, he will have spent 51 years as an elected official and his retirement opens the door for new U.S. Representative in the district, as well as an examination in this Current Event about the United States House of Representatives.
The United States House of Representatives was established by the Founding Fathers during the Constitutional Convention in 1787, with the general understanding that the House symbolizes the voice of the American people at the federal level. One of two chambers of the United States Congress, the structure of the House is based on proportional representation, with the number of seats allocated to each state determined by its population. Consequently, populous states like California have a larger number of representatives compared to smaller states like Wyoming. This proportional representation model aims to ensure that the voices of all citizens are heard and reflected in the legislative process.
Members of the House, elected every two years by constituents within their respective districts, wield the power to introduce, debate, and vote on bills passed at the federal level. The House holds the exclusive authority to initiate revenue-related bills, impeach federal officials, and act as a check on the executive branch. Set out in Article 1, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution the requirements of a House of Representatives are first, that the Representative is at least 25 years old, second that they have been a citizen of the U.S. for at least seven years, and finally that they are an inhabitant of the state they were elected to represent.
This week’s Current Events resources examine how the U.S. House of Representatives as an institution, as well as the members that make up its legislative body. The resources shared provide information and context around the who, what, how, and why of the “People’s House” of U.S. Congress.
Essential Questions, Vocabulary & Extend the Resources:
- What are the roles and responsibilities of the U.S. House of Representatives?
- What are the requirements of an individual to be an elected U.S. House of Representative? Why are those requirements in place?
- Should there be additional requirements to being a U.S. House of Representative? If so, what should they be and why?
- What are the differences and similarities between the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate? Why do such differences and similarities occur?
- In your opinion, should the U.S. House of Representatives expand its number of members to better reflect the population distribution of the United States?
- In your opinion, is the nickname of the U.S. House of Representatives, “The People’s House”, an appropriate name? Explain.
Click here for a hardcopy of the Essential Questions and U.S. House of Representatives Vocabulary
Click here for a hardcopy of Extension Activities CLP suggests implementing with this content
What Are the Job Descriptions of Representatives and Senators? (with Casey Burgat), Understanding Congress
Introducing the 118th Congress, C-SPAN in the Classroom, January 28, 2023
Checking In on Congress, The Lawfare Podcast, Lawfare, October 3, 2023
Starter Kit: Legislative Branch, Civics 101
U.S. Representatives, Oregon Blue Book, Oregon Secretary of State
The House Explained, United States House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives, Ballotpedia
U.S. House of Representatives, C-SPAN
Oregon Congressman Blumenauer’s front-row seat for U.S. House history, KOIN 6, October 8, 2023
US House passes spending bill to avert government shutdown, Reuters, November 14, 2023
Many voters say Congress is broken. Could proportional representation fix it?, OPB, NPR, November 18, 2023
US Rep. George Santos faces effort to expel him from Congress after scathing report
, Reuters, November 17, 2023
New York State Court of Appeals hears arguments over proposed redrawing of congressional districts, CBS New York, November 15, 2023
Republican lawmaker accuses ousted US House speaker of throwing elbow, Reuters, November 15, 2023
Why Is the Public’s Business at the Mercy of a Few Extremists?, New York Times, October 3, 2023
After McCarthy, here is how to start fixing the House, The Washington Post, October 4, 2023
A functioning democratic system would make Hakeem Jeffries speaker, The Washington Post, October 23, 2023
Getting to Know the House, Kids in the House, The U.S. House of Representatives
Lesson Plan: Choice Board – Researching Your Members in the U.S. House of Representatives, Civics Renewal Network & C-SPAN Classroom
The Antitrust Case Against the Tech Giants, Morningside Center for Teaching Social Responsibility
Lesson Plan: A House Without a Speaker, The New York Times
The Senate and the House of Representatives, Khan Academy
Lesson plan: Structure of congress, PBS Newshour Classroom
Resources for Younger Students:
House of Representatives, Academy 4 Social Change
The Legislative Branch, iCivics
U.S. House of Representatives, Kids in the House, The U.S. House of Representatives