Congress

John J. Sullivan speaking at a podium (© Jose Luis Magana/AP Images)

Meet U.S. Acting Secretary of State Sullivan

During this transition period between secretaries of state, a steady hand takes charge and career employees continue their work supporting the president's foreign policies.
Illustration of a man swearing in before a Senate hearing (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

How does Senate confirmation work?

Before nominees for Cabinet positions can start work, they have one important hurdle to clear: the Senate confirmation process.
Person giving speech in large, crowded room (© AP Images)

Who sits where during a State of the Union speech? [infographic]

The three branches of the U.S. government get together each year to hear the president give the State of the Union address. Who comes and where do they sit?
Donald Trump and Mike Pence side by side, with Trump pointing at Pence (© AP Images)

What do U.S. vice presidents do?

Vice presidents play a big role in the U.S. government. They are first in line to succeed the president and serve as emissaries, counselors and advisers.
Illustration of buildings with arrows leading to others of different sizes and people (State Dept./Doug Thompson)

Federal government: More than the White House and Congress

Learn more about the federal government in the United States. This article is part of a three-part series on how federalism works in America.
Skyline view of Jerusalem (© Ariel Jerozolimski/Bloomberg/Getty Images)

What is the Jerusalem Embassy Act? And what’s next for the...

When President Trump announced that the U.S. recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, he set in motion a plan to move the U.S Embassy there. Why?
Adults and children with candles and crosses standing outside at night (© AP Images)

The right to religious freedom

The International Religious Freedom Act promotes the fundamental right of people worldwide to worship according to their own conscience.
Illustration of people on ladders pushing up ceiling to make room for large dollar sign (State Dept./D. Thompson)

What is a debt ceiling and why does it matter?

The legal limit on how much debt the U.S. government can take on is called the debt ceiling. It's a good bet it will be in the news again soon.
Illustration of people carrying giant rolled-up document up U.S. Capitol steps (State Dept./D. Thompson)

How a bill becomes law

A combination of traditions, "checks and balances" and math all factor into how a bill becomes a law in the United States.