COVID-19 (coronavirus) Update

The Capitol Visitor Center will be closed for tours beginning Thursday, March 12th at 4:30 p.m. All tours are cancelled. We expect to reopen for tours Friday, May 1st at 8:30 a.m. We regret any inconvenience this may cause you, and we look forward to welcoming you to the Capitol Visitor Center at a future date.

What Congress Does

Congress is the legislative branch of the federal government that represents the American people and makes the nation's laws. It shares power with the executive branch, led by the president, and the judicial branch, whose highest body is the Supreme Court of the United States. Of the three branches of government, Congress is the only one elected directly by the people.

Article I—the longest article of the Constitution—describes congressional powers. Congress has the power to:

  • Make laws
  • Declare war
  • Raise and provide public money and oversee its proper expenditure
  • Impeach and try federal officers
  • Approve presidential appointments
  • Approve treaties negotiated by the executive branch
  • Oversight and investigations