What Are the Two Houses of the United States Government?

Congress, the United States government's lawmaking branch, is a bicameral legislature that comprises the two chambers, or houses, of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The members of both houses are elected officials who meet at the U.S. Capitol for legislative sessions. The Senate is divided into committees, subcommittees and joint committees that serve specific interests, for example, the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry; the Committee on Armed Services; the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs; and the Committee on Finance.

The committees hold various types of hearings, including legislative hearings, oversight hearings and confirmation hearings, and the public is welcome to attend them. There are a total of 100 senators, and each state elects two as its representatives. The senators stay in office for six years and may seek re-election as often as they like.

There are 435 members of the House of Representatives, and each member serves for two years. The number of representatives is not limited to two per state, but rather the number depends on the state's population. Like the Senate, the House has committees and routinely convenes meetings to consider bills and relevant issues. Unlike the Senate, the House can introduce a spending bill.