20+ Differences Between House And Senate

The Constitution’s creators recognized the need to safeguard the smaller states in the newly established Union from being eclipsed by their more populous counterparts.

According to the U.S. Capitol Visitor Centre, they anticipated that by splitting legislative authority between two chambers, they would be able to guarantee equitable representation for citizens of all states.

Delegates from Connecticut advocated during the 1787 Constitutional Convention that the House seats be distributed based on population and the Senate seats be distributed two per state.

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Key features of the House:

  1. The minimum age limit for being able to enter the House is 25 years. 
  2. One has to live in the state for a continuous of 7 years to be able to sit for the elections. 
  3. The people who are a part of the House have a term of two years, and this means that after every two years, the whole House would sit for elections.
  4. They have a total of 435 members.

Key features of the Senate:

  1. In order to be able to sit for the Senate elections, have has to have a minimum age of 30 years.
  2. As a set of rules, an individual has to have lived in the state for a total of 9 years.
  3. In contrast to the two-year term of the members of the House, the Senators have a term of 6 years. This means that the Senators are elected for a longer duration than the people of the House.
  4. They have a fixed number of members of 100.

Comparison between House and Senate

ParameterHouseSenate
Name GivenThe House is known as the lower house of the parliament.The upper house of the legislature is referred to as the Senate.
The number of representativesThe number of representatives in a House are proportional to the population of the state.In a Senate, there are two senators assigned to every state.
The intent of the houseThe House was intended to be the national house among the two.The Senate was intended to be the federal house, which means that in every state, irrespective of its size has the same representation. 
Length of the TermThe House has a term of two years where the house is accountable to the people and should also take part in popular opinions.The Senate has a term of six years where the body is considered to be insulated. 
The total number of membersThe House has a total of 435 members, making it the larger body of the two.The Senate is the smallest of the two groups, with a total of 100 senators.
ChairpersonThe House is presided over by the speaker, who is also a member.The vice-president of the country, who does not serve in the senate, preside over it.
The number of debatesThere are a limited number of debates and arguments in the House due to a large number of members.The Senate can hold an unlimited number of debates, and so it is given the name of a Filibuster.

major differences between the House and the Senate

What exactly is a House?

The lower House, sometimes referred to as the House of Representatives, is the one that the founders intended to be the more democratic House, the one that directly represents the people.

Because representation in the lower House is proportionate, the framers intended for it to be the House of the country.

The government that is being established is somewhat federal and partially national, according to James Madison in Federalist No. 39.

This House will be more directly answerable to the people because of the two-year tenure, and they are expected to be receptive to public opinion.

Though the founders did not hold a firm belief in democracy per se, they did hold a firm belief in the Aristotelian tradition that the government should include a democratic component, and this is the meaning meant here.

Although the Constitution does not expressly provide that this must be the case, the House is a bigger body with 435 members and is presided over by the speaker of the House, who is normally a member of that body.

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Roles of the House:

  • The Constitution’s Sections 7 and 8 discuss the responsibilities of the House of Representatives. However, according to the Legal Information Institute, the authority provided to both chambers of Congress is derived from Article I, Section 1.
  • The ability to declare war, collect taxes, and regulate trade was added by Marshall’s ruling, extending the range of the legislative powers listed in the Constitution. This authority stems from the Constitution’s Article I, Section 8’s necessary and appropriate clause.
  • According to the Legal Dictionary, implied powers are those that aren’t specifically mentioned in the Constitution but that the government infers are given to it through precedent-based Supreme Court rulings.
  • Congress has the authority it has because it needs it in order to carry out its responsibilities. They are derived from additional powers that the government has been expressly given in order for it to exercise the enumerated powers. 
  • The Legal Information Institute uses the ability to acquire land as an example of a power that comes from the listed war-making and treaty-making authority.

What Exactly Is A Senate?

The Senate, or upper House as it is often called, was initially intended by the framers to be more aristocratic.

Senators were not directly chosen by the people when the Constitution was first created before the 17th Amendment; instead, they were indirectly appointed by the state assembly.

The 17th Amendment has changed that, but that House still retains some of its aristocratic traditions.

The upper House has two senators per state because, as a result of the great compromise, this House was intended to be the federal House where all states, regardless of size, have the same representation.

In order to allow senators to make decisions that are best for the country, even if they may not be immediately popular, the framers intended for the Senate to be an isolated body where they could discuss current events, treaties, foreign policy, and other topics in the manner of the Roman Senate without being constantly influenced by public opinion.

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Roles of the Senate:

  • Like the House, the Senate has powers that are either specifically outlined in the Constitution or that are drawn from the defined authorities via the due process clause in Article I, Section 8.
  • Any proposed treaty must be approved by the Senate by a vote of two-thirds of senators. The provisions of a treaty may also be altered by the Senate.
  • Instead of the two-year tenure of House representatives, senators’ terms were established at six years to protect them from immediate political pressure.
  • The Senate was designed to operate with greater caution than the House. This highlights the Senate’s obligation to provide guidance on and approval for decisions made by the House and the executive arm of government.
  • According to the Congressional Research Service, the Senate’s standing rules encourage thoughtfulness by enabling senators to “argue at length” and needing more votes to end a discussion. The rules also permit senators to put up floor amendments to active legislation that have nothing to do with those laws’ actual contents.

Contrast Between House and Senate

Common Name 

  • House – The House is commonly called the lower House of the parliament.
  • Senate – In the common language, the Senate is called the upper House of the parliament.

Duration 

  • House – In House, the representatives have a short term of only two years, so the work done is faster, and the response is quicker.
  • Senate – In Senate, the term of the House is for six years.

Number Of Seats 

  • House – In House, there are 435 members that can vote, six members who cannot vote, out of which 5 are delegates, and one is the resident commissioner.
  • Senate – In Senate, there are a total of hundred members.

Head Of The House 

  • House – The House speaker, who is also a member, is in charge of the House.
  • Senate – The vice-president of the country, who is not a senator, serves as its leader.

Distribution Of Members

  • House – The distribution of House members takes into account the population of each state.
  • Senate – In Senate, there are a fixed number of members per state, that is, two per state. 

Past Of The Houses

  • House – The House follows the Virginian plan.
  • Senate – The Senate follows the New Jersey plan. 

Roles

House– Here are the roles you should know of- 

  • According to the Constitution Annotated, implied powers are another name for inherent powers. Though they have never been formally used, these are powering that Congress has. The ability to tax internet service providers is one such.
  • One of the legislative authorities listed in Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution is the authority to declare war, impose taxes, and control trade. Congress’s jurisdiction over federal tax and economic policy has been extended via the employment of the taxing and spending clause and the commerce clause.
  • The executive and legislative branches have also experienced a great deal of conflict as a result of Congress’s wartime authority. For instance, as the House of Representatives Archive explains, presidents have attempted to increase their authority in order to involve the American military in wars abroad.
  • According to Article I, Section 7 of the Constitution, legislation that aims to generate money must come from the House. One of the main distinctions between the House and Senate is this. Legislation relating to expenditure and taxes is subject to modifications proposed by the Senate, just like other measures given to it by the House.
  • To enable legislation to be passed swiftly, the founders decided to allow measures to pass the House after receiving a simple majority of votes. 
  • The Congressional Research Service states that standing committees, which are comprised of members from both parties but are led by members of the majority party, are in charge of evaluating and producing laws.
  • The House of Representatives Archive details the crucial position political parties play in the structure and operation of the House. The speaker of the House and other leadership roles, such as the chair of each House committee, is chosen by the majority party.
  • The task of creating the party’s legislative program falls to the majority leader of the House. The minority party selects a minority leader who has significantly less influence on the House’s policy agenda.
  • The speaker of the House is in charge of overseeing all House proceedings, selecting which bills go to which committees, choosing the committees to which new House members will be appointed, and deciding the significance of bills that will be debated and voted on by the entire body of representatives.
  • All House committees are headed by members of the majority party, but they must collaborate with the minority party’s ranking member to draught measures that can be considered by all House members.

Senate– Here are the roles you should know of- 

  • The majority party is given additional privileges in the administration of the Senate in addition to the majority leader’s authority to direct discussions on the Senate floor.
  • The Senate majority leader is responsible for resolving any procedural issues that come up on the Senate floor and notifying majority party members about the substance, ramifications, and progress of all pending legislation. 
  • The majority leader resolves any disagreements that would prohibit proposed laws from being passed in coordination with the heads of Senate committees.
  • The majority of Senate motions need more than a simple majority to pass. As a result, the ruling party in the Senate must collaborate more closely than it usually does in the House, where legislation may be passed with a simple majority.
  • All committee chairs are chosen from among senators from the party with the most seats. To fulfill the committee’s objectives, however, the majority heads of the committees must collaborate with the ranking member of the minority party due to the structure of the Senate.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why did the founders include distinct standards for House and Senate members in the Constitution?

Recall that before the 17th Amendment was passed in 1913, senators were not directly elected by the people.

The founders intended for the House to be the branch of government that was most accessible to and responsive to its constituents.

They are required to run for office frequently and typically speak for fewer people.

Q2. What are the similarities between the House and the Senate?

The fact that both of them are predominantly chosen by state residents who are registered to vote is their first point of similarity.

Next, the House and the Senate must approve a measure to be fully passed. Finally, all their discussions and meetings take place in hallways or rooms set aside for them both.

Q3. What is Congress?

Congress—the House of Representatives and Senate—combine to form the legislative arm of the US government.

Drafting new legislation, approving or rejecting presidential elections for leaders of federal agencies, and making war as necessary are their main duties.

Q4. What is the difference between majority and minority leaders?

The majority leader of the party with the most members is chosen to head that party. The lesser size of the party is under the control of the minority leader.

The majority of Congress members are either Republicans or Democrats as a result of our two-party system.


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