Written by Prarthana Sheopuri. Managing Editor, I Kid You Not.
It has nothing to do with eating samosas – well not exactly.
So, what exactly is Samosa Caucus?
Samosa Caucus is a name given (informally) to Indian-origin lawmakers in the US who are either part of the House of Representatives
or the Senate.
The term was coined (named/made) by a member of the group – Raja Krishnamoothi – to informally name the Indian- Americans in Congress, advocating legislation( rules/laws) of common interest between India and America.
Let’s break up the words..
Samosa – we all know what that means..it’s a yummy Indian fried snack.
Caucus – a group or meeting. In political terms, it means a meeting of supporters or members of a specific political party or movement.
Hence – the Samosa Caucus – a group that meets to support India-related issues in the US (of course, that’s not all the group does – but it’s something that binds them since they are all of Indian origin and feel for all things Indian.
Who are currently a part of the Caucus?
The group comprises 5 main Indian Americans namely, Raja Krishnamoorthy, Shri Thanedar, Ami Bera, Ro Khanna, and Pramila Jayapal. However, it is an expanding caucus and some more names are being added to this elite group. One of them is Arula Miller.
Here are some basic introductions of the key members
Now that you know about the group let’s find out some basic facts about the US Congress.
The US Congress consists of two houses: the Senate in which regardless of its size each state is represented by two senators, and the House of Representatives in which members are elected on the basis of population.
What does Congress actually do?
Congress does the following:
- Lay and collect taxes
- Borrow money on the credit of the country
- Regulate business
- Coin money (to regulate every phase of the currency)
- Declare war (well. this is not common, but it’s part of what it can do)
- Raise and support armies,
- Make all laws necessary for the execution ( carry on a plan) of its powers
What does a member of Congress do?
A member of Congress represents the people of his/her district in Congress by holding hearings (meetings or sessions), as well as developing and voting on legislation (making a law). All bills( proposals/ suggestions ) must pass Congress before they can go to the President to be signed into law.
What is required for a bill (proposal) to finally become law?
In order to pass legislation ( making of a law) and send it to the President for his or her signature, both the House and the Senate must pass the same bill by majority vote. If the President vetoes (disapproves) a bill, two-thirds of each of the two chambers of Congress voting in favour of the bill can override that veto and the bill can be passed and made into law.
How many members does Congress actually have?
The House of Representatives is made up of 435 elected members, these members are divided among the 50 states in proportion to their total population. In addition, there are 6 non-voting members that represent the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and four other territories of the United States: American Samoa, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of Northern Mariana Islands.
The Senate comprises 100 Senators, 2 from each state. The Vice President serves as President of the Senate and may cast the decisive( deciding ) vote in the event of a tie( an equal score ) in the Senate.
What are the qualifications required to run for office in Congress?
A person needs to be
25 years old or above
Have been a US citizen for at least 7 years
Be a resident of that particular state at the time of election.
As for the U.S. Senate, the person needs to be
30 years and above
Have been a US citizen for at least 9 years
Be a resident of that particular state at the time of the election.
For how long do the members of Congress serve?
The members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms and are considered for re-election every even year. Senators, however, serve six-year terms, and elections to the Senate are staggered (spread) over even years so that only about 1/3 of the Senate is up for re-election during any election, in simple words the complete Senate is never up for election, only 1/3 of it is.
How many people do congressmen (House of Representatives) and senators actually represent?
The members of the U.S. House of Representatives represent a portion of their state known as a Congressional District, which on average comprises 7,00,000 people. Senators however represent the entire state.
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