The United States has got two houses under the Congress. The senator constitutes the Senate, and the citizens elect the representatives to represent the house of representative, known as the bicameral system of representation. Members of the House of Representatives are elected after every two years while members of the Senate are elected for a six-year period. Their differences begin right from their qualification requirements. To qualify for a Senate election, one must be at least 30 years old and must have been a citizen for at least nine years. On the other hand, to vie for the representative post, the minimum age is 25, and one must have been a citizen for at least seven years.
The legislation process in both houses has several similarities stage wise. Both start with the introduction of a bill. A bill is a proposal that is to be debated on and approved to become law if all stages succeed. All the legislative roles are left for the Congress.
They both mainly recognize public bills as private bills would mainly be to an individual’s advantage. Both houses have introduction stage where only members can introduce bills after which they are assigned designation numbers. The second stage in both houses is the referral to the appropriate committees for further study. In the third stage, the committee study, the committee discusses the bill and may assign different segments of the draft law to specific subcommittees for further scrutiny, hearing, and voting where the law qualifies to pass by a simple majority. If approved by the committee, the bill goes to the fourth stage, referral to the house where the bill is then taken back to the particular house. In the fifth step, debate and voting are carried out and again, the bill passes by a simple majority. The sixth step which is the formation of conference committee involves delegation from both houses. The conference committee unites the different versions from the other stages and comes up with a report. After this, both houses again vote to pass or fail the bill. The last step is the presidential ascent where if the president signs, it becomes law.
There are some distinct differences in the legislative processes in the two houses. The very initial one is that all revenue relating bills are left to the House of Representatives. These laws include bills to regulate taxes of the nation. Secondly, as the house of representatives is vested with the power to discuss the revenue laws, it is the mandate of the Senate to review and approve these bills.
The floor debating stage in the two houses differ. In the house of representatives, the Committees have the powers to control the number of amendments offered and even limit the debate as opposed to the Senate where the Senate can speak all their minds, propose the number of bills they require without being monitored and constrained by the committee.
Electing these members representing smaller constituencies is done after every two years as opposed to the Senate who represents larger areas of jurisdiction and after six years they can be elected.