The political system of the United States is complex and consists of several levels. One of the main structures in the system is the United States Congress, which was established in 1789 as a bicameral structure that consists of two separate houses: the House of Representatives and the Senate. Despite the fact that there is a certain collision of the functions of the two houses, their members still have a lot of different duties and responsibilities, which allows them to influence political environment of the country on separate levels.
The House of Representatives constitutes the lower chamber of the U.S. Congress (Smith). According to Encyclopædia Britannica, the main goal of the House of Representatives is to “represent the popular will” (Editors of EB). The members of the House of Representatives, as per the U.S. Constitution, are directly elected by the people (Editors of EB). The number of representatives at the House of Representatives is limited to 435 seats, which proportionally represent the states according to their population (USHR). Representatives are also referred to as congressmen or congresswomen, and each one of them is elected for a two-year term (USHR). Representatives are responsible for passing federal laws, introducing bills and resolutions, as well as offering amendments and participating in various committees (USHR).
The House also has the executive power to impeach officials (Smith). During the presidential elections, the House’s power is also substantial: as Smith explains, “if there is a dead heat in the presidential election, the House will decide who becomes President”. There are certain restrictions regarding the age and background of the representatives: “To be elected, a representative must be at least 25 years old, a United States citizen for at least seven years and an inhabitant of the state he or she represents” (USHR). Senators, on the other hand, are chosen by the State, and each state is allowed to appoint two senators (USS). The appointed senators serve six years, with overlapping terms; there are no restrictions on the number of times a person can be appointed as a senator (Smith). Along with the Representatives, the Senators can propose, author, and vote on federal laws, including those affecting the U.S. foreign policy (USS). However, Senators are considered to have a superior power over the House of Representatives, as they can approve or deny any legislation suggested by the Representatives (Smith). Senators’ duties also involve providing consent on executive nominations and conducting oversight of the federal government (USS).
Together, the Senate and the House of Representatives constitute the executive branch of power in the political system of the United States. The Congress has a substantial influence on the legislation of the country and can overturn the laws or bills proposed by the President if needed. Moreover, if a total two-thirds of the Congress members agree on the legislation, it can be re-passed, even if the President did not approve it initially. Smith explains that the separation of the political system was designed to promote democracy and prevent any individuals or groups from having too much power. Indeed, it is clear that the Congress and the President’s Office are interdependent since one cannot act in direct opposition to the other unless necessary – for instance, if the public wants to impeach the president. Such a variety of connected political bodies allows ensuring a diversity of views within the political system, hence allowing for all people of the country to be heard.
Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica. “House of Representatives.” Encyclopædia Britannica, 2011. Web.
Smith, Reiss. “US Political System: How Does It Work? Senate, House of Representatives and More Explained.” Express, 2016. Web.
The United States Senate (USS). Web.