Before I begin I want to say I think everybody needs to read the U.S. Constitution in a encyclopedia to help them understand the powers of each branch of government. Then they need to read the actual U.S. Constitution as written using the encyclopedia as a reference because the words that describe our branches of government in the Constitution are the following in order of appearance: Congress, Senate, House of Representatives, Representatives, Senators, Each House, Neither House, a President of the United States of America, Vice President, President, Judicial, Supreme Court and those are all the words. Also keep in mind that Executive, Legislative & Judicial are adjectives, describes what they do and is not the name for who they are, and combined with the words "branch" or in my argument "branches" are there as a teaching tool for novices (children's education) that might not understand what the President, House of Representatives, Senate and Supreme Court do in the scheme of government. So now you say Congress consists of the Senate & the House of Representatives which is true BUT only when they convene (assemble) or in the Constitution to describe shared powers. Now with a little history and math I will show how each are a branch of government and are NOT combined under the phrase "Legislative Branch" because when you use that term it implies three Branches of government being Executive branch, Legislative branch and Judicial branch. When you are told over and over something you begin to believe it and at some point you accept it as the Truth. There is a difference between being told and being taught. Being told is INDOCTRINATION, being TAUGHT is backing it with FACT!
After the "New World" (North America) was discovered the main people who immigrated (in the beginning) to this land were from England. What they were fleeing from was a government with absolute power dispensed by a King. They thought a ocean would separate them from that oppressive form of government but it didn't. So they fought the War of Independence to gain their freedom from that country & king. The Founding Fathers had to form a government that would not transform into something that repeated the form of government they left and fought against. The Founding Fathers needed to form a government with separated powers. What they were worried with most was giving one part of government to much power especially the part of government that might create another king or supreme ruler. The Founding Fathers were much smarter than what most people give them credit for. They had to disburse power evenly and the functions of government to government bodies or what many refer to as "branches". Now if you have three branches each branch would have a percentage of power being thirty three and a third if disbursed evenly. If you have four branches being President, House of Representatives, Senate & Supreme Court each branch now has twenty five percent of the power if disbursed evenly. How each branch uses these powers given through the Constitution will demonstrate the four branches of government with evenly disbursed power. The only way to do this is with the stop and start of government referred to as "government shutdown" which can only happen each time a yearly budget bill (funding for government) or national debt bill (borrowing) needs to be addressed by government.
How many branches of government can shutdown government? The answer is three branches, the President (25% of power) by vetoing the yearly budget bill or national debt bill but this can be overridden by Congress (50% of power when and only when Congress agrees with a super majority 2/3 vote of "Yea" by the House of Representatives and a super majority 2/3 vote of "Yea" by the Senate to pass the bill into law), the House of Representatives (25 % of power) by not introducing or not responding to a yearly budget bill or a national debt bill or by passing a yearly budget or national debt bill to the Senate that the Senate won't vote on or will vote on but not pass and neither the Senate or the President separately or together can do anything to restart government, the Senate (25 % of power) by not introducing (see Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution) or not responding to a yearly budget bill or a national debt bill or by passing a yearly budget bill or a national debt bill to the House of Representatives that the House of Representatives won't vote on or will vote on but not pass and neither the House of Representatives or the President separately or together can do anything to restart government. The True power of Congress (50% of power) is to take the power of government out of the hands of one man, the President, and place it in the hands of 535 people being the House of Representatives (435 people) and the Senate (100 people). It is a lot easier to corrupt the mind of one person than it is to corrupt the minds of 535 people.
Now as you should be able to see the proper phrase to describe our government is Executive branch, Legislative branches (meaning two or more and both branches, House of Representatives and the Senate convene to form Congress to legislate laws under the powers of the Constitution given to both branches) and Judicial branch. If the House of Representatives is not a equal branch of government how did it shutdown government just a few weeks ago? It wasn't the Senate or Congress or the President or the Supreme Court or any terrorist organization. The House of Representatives is a equal branch of government and so is the Senate because the Senate mirrors the House of Representatives in shared powers and both have powers unique unto themselves. It is amazing how through our country's history and educational system this phrase used as a teaching tool sneaked right into our perception of how our government's power schematic is laid out. The phrase "Executive Branch, Legislative Branch or Branches & Judicial Branch" should not be in the power schematic at all. It is also amazing that our Founding Fathers wrote a 4 page document (the Constitution) which runs this entire government and the Barack Obama Administration and Democrats needed 2,700 pages to write Obamacare and another 30,000 pages (like the Ever-Ready Bunny still writing) or so of regulations to implement the law.