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Differences Between Senators and Congressmen

Within the legislature of the federal government, there are two chambers: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Senators and Congressman work within these two lawmaking bodies. Both are representative voices for their constituents, but their roles differ in terms of  length, power and apportionment. Here are some key facts on the differences between Senators and Congressmen.

House of Representatives

  1. Each state represented in Congress is entitled to at least one representative, but the number per state is determined according to population. Under the constitutional rule regarding the size of the House, “the number of Representatives shall not exceed one of every thirty Thousand.”
  2. There are currently 435 Congressional seats.
  3. A Congressperson’s term lasts two years.
  4. The minimum age for a member of the House is 25 and the elected official must have been a U.S. citizen for at least seven years.
  5. The six non-voting members in Congress are the District of Columbia, American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and the Northern Mariana Islands. Although these districts are unable to vote, they may vote in a House committee and introduce legislation.
  6. In the legislature, only the House of Representatives can introduce spending bills.


  1. Each state has a total of two senators, regardless of the state’s size. For this reason, there are always 100 senators during a given period.
  2. A senator’s term lasts six years. Only one-third of the Senate seats are elected every two years. That way, only 33 or 34 seats are up for election at a given time.
  3. The minimum age for a senator is 30, and that person must be a U.S. citizen for at least nine years.
  4. The Senate has sole power of approval for foreign treatises and cabinet and judicial nominations, including appointments to the Supreme Court.
  5. The Senate is headed by the Vice President, who only votes in case of a tie.

Nora Harless

Sources: Diffen.com, USGovInfo
Photo: Flickr