What is the US House of Representatives and US Senate?


The United States Congress is comprised of two legislative houses, making Congress a bicameral legislative body. One legislative group is comprised of representatives of each state based on state population, which is called the House of Representatives. The other house is called the Senate and contains two members from each state. Both houses of Congress are determined in an election by voters of each state. Each seat is subject to both a primary and general election.

The House of Representatives is elected every two years and members are not restricted to term limits. The two-year term ensures that members of the House are generally on campaign continually and each legislative vote carries considerable impact on the re-election of each member. The number of representatives in the House, which is referred to as the lower body, is set by law at 435 members. The House of Representatives has designated duties that include the introduction of all revenue bills to Congress and presenting articles of impeachment against government officials when necessary. In the event that the electoral college system does not produce an elected president, the House also votes to determine the winner.

The Senate is referred to as the upper house and is comprised of 100 members. The number is determined by two senators elected from each state for an equal representation among states. This was determined by the Great Compromise during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. Legislators in the Senate serve six-year terms and generally act as a final approval body of Congress. Likewise, senators have no term limits. All legislation that passes the House must also pass the Senate, but both legislative bodies have the authority to introduce legislation in order to assist in the law-making process. Because of the six-year term, senators often can vote on legislation from a more objective position without continual concern for the next election.


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