What Two Houses Make up Congress?

Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The United States Congress is a bicameral body that represents the legislative branch of government; the congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Senate has 100 seats that are filled by elected representatives, known as Senators, from each of the 50 states with each state is allotted two Senate seats regardless of size, and Senators serve 6-year terms. The House of Representatives has 435 seats that are distributed among the 50 states according to population and filled by elected representatives, known as Representatives, who serve 2-year terms.

Together, the two houses of the Congress have the ability to introduce legislation and pass bills that then must be approved by the president, who signs those bills into law. The Senate and the House of Representatives, or House, have the ability to approve or reject presidential appointments for positions including high-ranking cabinet members and Supreme Court Justices. The Supreme Court has the right to perform judicial review of the legislation passed by the Congress, forming yet another check on Congressional power. Although the Senate is theoretically more powerful than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, each body of the Congress has the ability to vote on legislation introduced by the other, and bills must pass through both bodies.