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To what extent are the Senate and the House of Representatives equal in power?
Evidence that the Senate and the House are equal in power includes:
Both chambers have equal power in the passage of legislation, constitutional amendments,
overrides of presidential vetoes and declarations of war
Evidence that the Senate is more powerful than the House includes:
o Senators represent more people and bigger areas= states rather than districts.
o Senators serve six year terms (longer than congressmen).
o Senators are 1 out of 100= meaning they more chance of making a difference.
o Senators are more likely to chair a committee or subcommittee or hold some leadership
o Senators are more well known statewide and nationwide
o The Senate is seen as a `recruiting pool for presidential and vice presidential candidates'
the majority of candidates come from the Senate
o They hold more prestigious exclusive powers
o House members usually seek election into the senate
The Senate's exclusive powers of appointment confirmation and treaty ratification are often of
considerable consequence for the political system
The increased use of the filibuster, and the consequent need for a `supermajority' to pass almost
any legislation, means the president's legislative strategy is usually focused on the Senate the
Senate delivers the final verdict in impeachment proceedings
Evidence that the House is more powerful than the Senate includes:
The house initiates impeachments proceedings the House begins consideration of money bills the
House elects the president if there is not a majority in the Electoral college.
Exclusive powers of the House
The House of Representative has three exclusive powers.
o It is given the power to initiate money bills at the beginning of the nations history only the
house was directly elected and the Founding Fathers believed that the people's directly
elected representatives should have the first say in spending the peoples money
o The power of impeachment (perhaps the House's most significant exclusive power) the
house can impeachthat is, formally accuse any member of the executive and judicial
branches of the federal government. This power has been used 19 times since 1789 the
most recent being federal judge Thomas Porteous in 2010, in 1998 the house impeached
o If the Electoral college is deadlocked if no candidate wins an absolute majority of Electoral
College votes then the House is charged with electing the president. This has only been
used twice in 1800 and 1824
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Exclusive Powers of the Senate
The Senate's exclusive powers are seen as more prestigious than those of the House. Two of them,
in particular, give the Senate significantly more power than the house
o The Senate alone has the power to confirm by a simple majority many appointments
made by the president:
These include all the president's appointments to the federal judiciary and a great many
though not all of the appointments to the executive branch.…read more