Source: This piece was originally posted at The New Democrat: Crash Course: Craig Benzine- The Bicameral Congress: Crash Course Government and Politics
The main reason why we have a bicameral Congress made up of a House of Representatives and a Senate, is because our Founding Fathers (The Founding Liberals) came from an authoritarian unitarian dictatorial country. That was run by a monarchy and had an official state religion. The United Kingdom of course and the Founding Fathers wanted to create a free society that had a limited responsible government. Where a lot of power wasn’t rested with one part of government, or in one office. But spread out and accountable to the people. For Congress to pass any laws, they have to do it together. The House and Senate, have to come together and work out the final bill that both chambers pass and get the President to sign what they agreed on.
As surprising and disappointing to today’s so-called Progressives as this may be, we don’t have a unicameral Congress and a Senate, that makes up our federal legislature. We don’t have a Congress and a Senate and every time I hear someone say that we do and say the Congress and Senate, or our Congress members and Senators, or even Congress people and Senators, I think to myself no wonder the world sees Americans as stupid. Because you have all of these people who not only don’t understand their own history, but don’t get their own form of government. And perhaps only have high school diplomas, because their schools were tired of seeing them and trying to teach them. The Senate, is a big part of Congress and the bigger part as far as power. And the power that an individual Senator has over a Representative.
We have 535 Members of Congress. 435 Representatives in the House and a 100 Senators in the Senate. Representatives, represent sections and generally gerrymandered House districts that are part of states. But Senators have to represent the entire state and are accountable to the entire state. Which is one example of why they’re more powerful than individual Representatives, because again their accountable to more people and have to speak to more people. Even if politically and ideologically they agree with what their party colleagues in the House want to do on a bill and even if they were once a Representative themselves, they might not be able to politically go along with what their party is doing in the House. Because it could hurt them politically at home voting for something that is so ideological and partisan. Which means they have to compromise.
The House of Representatives, or HR, is accountable to the popular will of the people. The people they represent and when something becomes very popular with the majority party in the House, they tend to act quickly and pass their own bill. With very little if any input from the minority party, even the minority leadership. The House is known for show votes, because that is what they do a lot of. They pass bills that either clearly don’t have sixty-votes in the Senate, or the other party controls the Senate and that bill won’t come up anyway, because the Senate Leader will kill the bill by himself. The Senate, usually is where the action is as far as bills that are passed that get signed into law by the President. The House passes a partisan bill. It dies or is blocked in the Senate and the Senate passes a compromise worked out by the majority and minority leadership’s.
Again, Senators have to represent an entire state and unless they come from a state where one party and one political philosophy is clearly in control, like South Carolina, or Massachusetts, there’s a limit to how partisan they can be and still be able to pass bills and even get reelected. Senators who are there to legislate, (Senators other than Ted Cruz) have to be able to work with their more moderate members in their caucus, their own leadership and even practical Senators from the other party. If they want top committee assignments, elected to leadership, build up a solid Senate record in Congress and even get consistently reelected. Because their own party in their state might not be that radical and part of the Center-Left, or Center-Right, depending on which party they come from. And because of this bicameral Congress it makes it difficult to pass bad partisan legislation in Congress. because you have a partisan House, but a Senate that has to work together to get anything done.
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