Senator vs Representative
Polity in US is parliamentary form of democracy where the President is the head of the state. The US Congress is made up of both the Representatives and Senators, and as such both are called Congressmen. Senate, is thus, one part of the Congress, other part being made up of House of Representatives. Both a senator, as well as a Representative, is a legislator though there are differences in roles and responsibilities. This article attempts to take a look at these differences.
Two members are allotted to every state, and these members are directly elected to the senate. As such there are 100 members in Senate at present, there being 50 states in the country. On the other hand, the number of representatives from a state in the House of Representatives is dependent upon the population of the state which means that states having a higher population have a higher number of representatives in Congress. While a member of the senate is called a senator, a representative is simply called a congressman or a congresswoman. However, collectively, both senators and representatives are also referred to as congressmen.
The word Senate comes from the Latin word senate meaning old man. Though not every member of the senate is old or wise, it was thought for a senate to work as a system of check and counterweight for any lapses or hasty decisions being taken by the representatives. Senators are considered to be more mature and wiser than representatives. House of Representatives is seen as a body of legislators that best represents the common man, whereas senate is seen more of an elitist organization. Senators are perceived to be higher in authority than representatives, though there is nothing to suggest or prove this. Maybe, it is because of the power of the senators to vote on whether or not to confirm President’s judicial nominees. Representatives are not given this power. However, when it comes to money bills, representatives have an upper hand over senators, who are not allowed to introduce these bills.
Because their number in House of Representatives being dependent upon the density of population of state; it is not surprising that Alaska, which is a very large state, has very small number of representatives. At present, there are 435 representatives as against 100 senators. There is a major difference in the duration for which a senator can serve from that of a representative. While an elected senator holds office for a 6 year term, representative holds office for just 2 years.
There are also differences in qualifications and age criteria for selection. While a person, over the age of 30 only can become a senator, the minimum age to become a representative is just 25. One requires being a citizen of the US for last 9 years to contest an election for a senator, while for a representative, this requirement is 7 years. Residency is a criterion that both senators and representatives have to satisfy before they become eligible to fight for an election.
There are some special powers that only representatives have such as the power to initiate impeachment proceedings. In case, when Electoral College has been unable to provide a decision in the election of the President, representatives have the power to choose the President of the country. However, approval of some treaties requires voting by senators.
Difference Between Senator and Representative
• Polity in US being bicameral, congress is divided into representatives and senators.
• Each state has two senators thus, senate has 100 senators
• Each state has its representatives, and this number is dependent upon the density of population of the state
• At present, there are 435 representatives in Congress
• Senate is considered the Upper House in the congress, while House of Representatives is considered the Lower House.
• Senators have a 6 year term, while representatives have a 2 year term
• Minimum age for eligibility is 30 years for senator, and 25 years for representative
• Senators cannot introduce tax bills
• Representatives have the special power to begin impeachment proceedings