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U.S. Government Information

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Government publications are issued by the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the Federal Government.

Executive Branch

The executive branch of government enforces the laws of the land. It was established in Article II of the Constitution. Many laws enacted by Congress require agencies to issue regulations. Executive branch agencies are granted the power to implement regulations relating to matters within their jurisdiction. Regulations are published daily in the Federal Register and are then codified in the Code of Federal Regulations once a year.

Judicial Branch

The judicial branch of government is established in Article III of the Constitution with the creation of the Supreme Court. This court is the highest court in the country and is empowered with the judicial powers of the government. There are lower Federal courts but they were not created by the Constitution. Rather, Congress deemed them necessary and established them using power granted from the Constitution. Courts decide arguments about the meaning of laws, how they are applied, and whether they break the rules of the Constitution. A court's authority to decide constitutionality is called judicial review.

Legislative Branch

The legislative branch of government has the authority to make laws for the nation. It was established in Article I of the Constitution with the creation of Congress. Congress is made up of two chambers, the Senate and the House of Representatives. Agencies such as the Government Publishing Office, Library of Congress, Congressional Budget Office, and the General Accounting Office that provide support services for the Congress are also part of the legislative branch.

Sessions of Congress

The legislative branch of government operates under "congresses" and "sessions." Each congress is made up of two sessions which last for approximately one year each. A complete guide to the sessions of congress that includes the beginning and ending dates, recesses, number of days in the session, the name of the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tem of the Senate, may be found by searching in the Congressional Directory.