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In this article I will explain you the difference between Congress, Senate and House of Representatives. There is a lot of confusion about these three terms, especially for people outside the U.S.

United States Congress

The Congress is contained of two houses known as: House of Representatives (lower house) and Senate (upper house). There are total of 535 voting members of which 100 senators and 435 representatives. There are also 6 non-voting members called delegate. The meeting place for the congress is the US Capitol.

US Congress has a lot of power, explained in Article I of the Constitution. Among very important decisions, they make laws and declare wars.


Difference Between Senate and House of Representatives


Senate Chambers in US Capitol


Every state, regardless of the population, has 2 senators who serve 6 year terms. But what’s interesting is that 1/3 of the Senate is elected every 2 years. Because there are lower number of senators (than representatives) and serve longer time, they are treated as more important. The meeting place of the Senate is the north wing of the United States Capitol, also called United States Senate chamber.

House of Representatives Chambers in US Capitol

House of Representatives

Members of the House of Representatives are called Representatives, but are often referred as congressmen. They serve 2 year terms and are representing people of a district. Number of seats in the House of Representatives depends on the population in the state. For example, the most populated state (California) has 53 seats in the House of Representatives.
But no matter how small the state is, it has the right to minimum one representative. The meeting place of the representatives is the south wing of the United States Capitol. The maximum number of representatives defined by law is 435.


Difference Between Senator and Representative


So the main difference between Senator and Representative is that the senator has 6 year term and the Representative is only 2 years in office. Also the senators are more important because they are less, which makes them more influential.

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  • Karen J. Simes

    WONDERFUL explanation!!! My students were studying this today and this made things more clear in their minds! Thank you!