House, Senate have different roles

Alex Haylock

With the election just around the corner, it is important to know what exactly each position in government means and represents.

screen-shot-2016-10-25-at-8-24-31-pmThe entirety of the House of Representatives and a third of the Senate is up for reelection this year. And yes, there is a difference between the two.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Congress is made up of two houses: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The term “congressman” is usually used to describe a member of the House, but it’s actually a blanket term that covers both the House and the Senate. This means that both senators and representatives can be considered a “congressman”.

Even though it covers both, senators for the most part aren’t considered congressmen. Senators are regarded as having a bigger role in Congress, so much that it is referred to as the “upper house.” This makes it inappropriate to call a senator, “congressman,” even though that is what they technically are because of the prestige a Senate seat carries.

The number of seats are different in the House and Senate. There are 100 seats in the Senate – two for each state. There are 435 seats in the House, but the number of seats for a state can change every ten years with the census, based on population. Senators represent the whole state, while a congressman works directly with their district of about 700,000 people.

The Senate and House also have different powers in Congress. The House can propose bills dealing with taxation, and can also vote to impeach the President. The Senate, meanwhile, runs those impeachment trials and votes on treaties signed by the President. These different powers were meant to check the one another, much like how Congress can check the President or Supreme Court.

The differences between the roles and duties of congressman and senator are important enough to consider a candidate running for the House or Senate differently.