The United States national government has three parts, one part is called “the executive” and we usually say the executive branch, these three parts we usually call branches and a “branch” is like a branch on the tree, is a part of the tree. So we have these three branches of the government, the executive branch is the president and everyone who works for the president, so the army, all the federal officials, they are all run by the president.
The second branch of the government is called the legislative branch and the verb is legislate which means to make laws and the legislative branch has two parts, there is a House of representative and there is a Senate. the House of representative like many countries, is a place where each part of the country, each area of the country gets to send a representative and there are 435 representatives in the United States. the Senate has a hundred people and each state gets to send two senators and there are of course 100 senators because we have 50 states. and the House of representative and the Senate what we together call Congress. Congress is the House and the Senate together, they decide what laws would be passed, so they come up with an idea for a law and they call this idea for a law a bill. it is like a proposal, they are suggesting this law and the two parts of the congress vote for a bill then they send it to the president and the president can sign the bill and if he say “ok, I agree with your idea”, it becomes a law. and if the president doesn’t like their idea, he can veto it, to “veto” means to say no to something, to say no to an idea or a plan. well, if the president veto it, the House and the Senate can still pass the bill by doing something called overriding the veto, to override means that the Congress votes again and if it votes with a big enough majority, if enough people vote, 2/3 or 66% something like that vote, they can pass the bill and make it a law even the president say no. this doesn’t happen very often however, because the two political parties that are popular in the United States, the republican party and the democratic party are fairly even and so there isn’t one party that has a huge majority, a large majority. the republican currently have a majority in both the House and the Senate, and the republican party is the party of president Bush, their party is more conservative, the democratic party or the party of democrats are more liberal, so it depends on where you are in the country. Generally speaking the coasts of the United States, the west coast California, Washington, Oregon and the east coast, New York city, Boston, Florida, those cities and states are more liberal and so there are more democrats on the coasts of the United States. and in the middle of the United States, there tend to be more republicans and there are lots of reasons for this, that is usually how they are divided. and as I say the legislative branch, the Congress propose an idea, a bill, they send it to the president and if the president sings it, it becomes a law.
Well, after something becomes a law, there may be question about what the law actually means, so we have a third branch of the government which we call the judicial branch, the judicial branch comes from the verb “to judge” and to judge of course means to say whether something is right or wrong and here the judicial branch means the courts, the legal courts and we have a series of courts, the highest court is called the supreme court, to be supreme means to be highest, to be the top. and so if there is a question abut what the law means and how the government should apply the law to a specific situation, they ask the supreme court and that is their main or primary job.
So those are the three basic parts of the US federal government. most states, I think almost every state has similar system of three branches of the government, so here in California the executive is headed by the governor, and we have a legislative branch, a House and a senate here in the state, and we also have our own supreme court, our state supreme court, so the state has a similar structure and things work very similarly. So that’s again an overview, an “overview” means a general look at something of our government.