A comparison of the House of Representatives and the Senate

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The Senate and the House of Representatives

The Senate and the House of Representatives are the two branches of Congress. A bill must be passed by both houses in order to become law. However, each chamber has its own set of procedural rules, missions, and customs. The framers of the Constitution envisioned a situation in which a bicameral Congress would have an inherent check on dictatorship and the misuse of executive powers and privileges (Manning 6). With the Congress not acting as a homogenous unit but rather as two separate bodies almost always conflicting with the other makes it difficult to process a bill to being enacted into law. Thus only a few bills become law. The U.S legislative process has made it easier to block bills and difficult to enact laws.

Differences between the House of Representatives and the Senate

There are differences in which the House of Representatives differs from the Senate; the first difference is in the frequency of elections and the number of members in both chambers. The House of Representatives has 435 members and goes for elections every two years with senators, who are 100 in number, going to the ballot every six years (Manning 11). Through frequent elections, members of the house are seen to be more sensitive to the needs of the populace. On the other hand, the Senate being a continuing body ensures that Senators offer an experienced well thought out advice while restraining the House from pressures of popular thought.

Secondly, bills are introduced into "the hopper" in the House are consequently referred by the speaker to the relevant committee while in the Senate bills can be directly introduced on the floor and are normally referred to the concerned committee by the leader of the majority (Manning 20). Thirdly, the House has rigid floor rules governing debating which favor the majority opinion while the Senate has flexible floor rules which protect minority opinion. This protection is in the form of having rare to no debate limits with any senator being at liberty to debate as long as they wish. The fourth different is in the form of scheduling for the introduction of bills and the business for the chambers. The majority party leadership and Rules Committee controls the business scheduling in the House while in the Senate, scheduling is usually as a result of mutual agreement between the minority and majority leaders. Finally, in the legislative process, speakers are at liberty to create ad hoc committees in the House of Representatives while the Senate does not allow the formation of ad hoc committees (Manning 36).

Similarities between the House of Representatives and the Senate

As there are differences, there are also similarities between the House of Representatives and the Senate. The first major similarity is that both chambers’ main duty is to legislate (Manning 12). The two are tasked with creating laws for the federal government. Secondly, the two legislative chambers are filled with elected representatives (Manning 10). The American people are entrusted with electing their senators and house representatives to the Congress. The fundamentals of the Senate and the House are broadly similar in that they meet at the same time and more often than not, work in unison while crafting legislation. Whereas certain bills can only originate from the House of Representatives, most of the legislation can start from either of the chambers.

Work Cited

Manning, Jennifer E. "Membership of the 115th Congress: A Profile." (2017).

January 25, 2023


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