Difference between Congress and Senate

Key Difference: The Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government. The legislature is the government’s decision making organization. It has the power to create, pass, amend and repeal laws. Congress is divided into two segments: Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate is the upper house of the Congress.

The federal government of the United States of America is distributed into three distinct branches: legislative, executive and judicial. The legislative is the government’s decision-making organization which has the power to enact, amend and repeal laws. The executive is the part of government that has sole authority and responsibility for the daily administration of the country. The judicial is the system of courts that interprets and applies the law in the name of the state.

In the United States of America, the legislative branch is the Congress, whereas the executive branch is the President and the judicial branch is represented by the system of federal courts, including the Supreme Court.

The Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government. The legislature is the government’s decision making organization. It has the power to create, pass, amend and repeal laws. Congress is a bicameral legislature, which means that its structure is divided into two segments: Senate and the House of Representatives.

Both the houses, also known as chambers, of the Congress are headquartered in Washington D.C. and meet in the Capitol.  The members of the senate are known as senators, and the members of the House of Representatives as US Representative, Representative, Congressman, or Congresswoman. Both the senators and the representatives are chosen in a direct election by the public. However, the senators are chosen for six years, whereas the representatives serve a term of only two years.

The Congress, both the Senate and House of Representatives, is largely composed of a combination of members of the Republican Party and the Democratic Party. While, members of the other parties are nearly non-represented. The Congress has a total of 535 voting members and 6 non-voting members. Of the 535 voting members, there are 435 Representatives and 100 Senators. There are 2 senators from each of the 50 states, while the numbers of representatives are dependent on the states’ population.

According to Wikipedia, the powers specifically given to Congress in Article I Section 8, are the following:

  • To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States; but all duties, imposts and excises shall be uniform throughout the United States;
  • To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
  • To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes;
  • To establish a uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies throughout the United States;
  • To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
  • To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
  • To establish post offices and post roads;
  • To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
  • To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
  • To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas, and offenses against the law of nations;
  • To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
  • To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
  • To provide and maintain a navy;
  • To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
  • To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions;
  • To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the states respectively, the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
  • To exercise exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever, over such District (not exceeding ten miles (16 km) square) as may, by cession of particular states, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the legislature of the state in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dockyards, and other needful buildings.
  • Furthermore, the Thirteenth (1865), Fourteenth (1868), and Fifteenth Amendments (1870) gave Congress authority to enact legislation to enforce rights of African Americans, including voting rights, due process, and equal protection under the law.

The powers of the Congress are divided under its two houses. As one of the houses of the Congress, the senate part of the powers of the Congress, the rest of which are given to the House of Representatives. The powers of the Senate include agreeing to treaties as a precondition to their ratification and confirming appointments of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers, as well as trial of federal officials impeached by the House.

According to Wikipedia, “The Senate is both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives, due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere.”

Comparison between Congress and Senate:

 

Congress

Senate

Description as per Wikipedia

The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States consisting of two houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate.

The United States Senate is a legislative chamber in the bicameral legislature of the United States of America, and together with the U.S. House of Representatives makes up the U.S. Congress.

Function

  • Authority over financial and budgetary matters
  • Power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defense and general welfare of the United States.
  • Authority to borrow money on the credit of the United States.
  • Regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, and coin money.
  • Only the House may originate revenue bills and appropriation bills.
  • The exclusive power to declare war, to raise and maintain the armed forces, and to make rules for the military.
  • To establish post offices and post roads, issue patents and copyrights, fix standards of weights and measures, establish courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
  • Allowing impeachment, trial, and removal of the President, federal judges and other federal officers.
  • To pass federal legislation that affects the entire country. The bills must also be passed by the House and the President.
  • Consenting to treaties as a precondition to their ratification
  • Consenting to or confirming appointments of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, other federal executive officials, military officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers
  • Trial of federal officials impeached by the House

Meet in

The Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

The north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C.

Part of

The US Federal Government

The US Congress

Members

535 voting members:

100 senators

435 representatives

6 non-voting members

100 senators

 

Membership

Direct election

Direct election

Term

6 years for the Senate

2 years for the House of Representatives

6 years

Image Courtesy: yesteryearsnews.wordpress.com, shawnhulaw.com

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