Congress vs Senate
Congress and senate are two words that have become so commonplace that a common citizen hardly pays any attention to the differences between these two legislative bodies. Congress and senate represent the legislative branch of the government, which is one of the three branches; other two being executive (President) and judicial (courts). If you too remain confused between congress and senate, read on as this article will clear all doubts from your mind. Though both have similar functions as legislative bodies involved in law making, there are differences in the roles and responsibilities of the senate and the house that will be highlighted in this article.
What is Congress?
To make things clear about legislative bodies, congress is the name used to refer collectively to the House of Representatives and the Senate. Thus, House or the House of Representatives is one of the two parts that make up the Congress in US politics, the other being Senate. Thus, to remember it once and for all, here is the equation.
Congress = House of Representatives (House) + Senate
The House of Representatives in US is the equivalent of the British House of Commons. It comprises 435 members that come in proportion to a state’s population. Thus, smaller states have lesser number of representatives while those having higher population have a higher number of representatives.
Together with the Senate, the House of Representatives makes up the Congress that has the power to legislate on matters of public importance. The system of having two houses in Congress is demonstrative of a system of checks and balances to prevent any legislation becoming a law in haste.
What is Senate?
Senate is considered as the upper house of the Congress. The word senate comes from the old Latin that means old or wise man. However, not all Senators are old (or wise), but the tradition continues to refer to members of the Senate as being old and wise.
There are 50 states in US and each state send 2 members to the Senate making the total number as 100. Whether small or large, all states are given just 2 members to represent them in the Congress or the federal parliament. What this implies is the equality of states as each state has an equal say in matters of importance in national politics.
Both Senators, as well as the Members of the House of Representatives, are collectively called Congressmen or Congresswomen. However, you have to remember that calling a Senator a Congressman or woman would not be much of a problem as they are a part of the Congress. However, if you call a member of the House of Representatives as Senator, the Senate members can take that as an insult.
What is the difference between Congress and Senate?
• Definitions of Congress and Senate:
• The legislative branch of the government in US is made up of House of Representatives and Senate, and collectively it is referred to as Congress.
• Senate is the upper house of the Congress.
• Number of Members:
• Congress has 535 members as it includes both Senate and the House of Representatives.
• Senate has 100 members, 2 per state, irrespective of the size of the state to give equal say to every state.
• House of Representatives has 435 members with smaller states having a lesser number and large states having a high number of representatives.
• Congress comes from a Latin word meaning ‘to come together.’
• Senate comes from Latin word that means ‘old and wise.’
• The whole congress has to approve a bill before it is sent to the President to approve.
• Senate has the power of impeachment while money bills cannot originate in the Senate.
• Age Limit:
• The age limit to enter the Congress is 25 years as you can become a member of the House of Representative by then.
• A citizen has to be at least 30 years of age to become a Senator.
• Congressmen/women and Senators:
• All Congressmen and Congresswomen are not necessarily Senators as they also can be members of House of Representatives.
• All Senators are Congressmen (or Congresswomen as the case may be).
So, as you can see, the difference between Congress and Senate is quite simple. Congress is the legislative branch of the government. It has two parts; the Senate and the House of Representatives. So, the Senate is a part of the congress.