Difference Between Congress and Senate

The legislative power, within a democratic government system, together with the executive and judicial powers, is one of the three powers or basic forms of government of a country and is in charge of elaborating, discussing and approving laws. This is done in order to regulate the obligations and rights of its citizens, in accordance with the provisions of the national constitution.

In most countries, the legislative power is elected through direct, secret and universal voting and in other cases, this body is elected through circuits or electoral colleges. In this way, each state or province selects a group of representatives for this power, according to those proposed by the different political parties.

In this sense, the legislative power is made up of the Senate and the Congress and each of their representatives has different specific functions, which will be described in this article.


Congress can be defined as a periodic meeting of a group of representatives and that in most countries they are elected by direct, secret and universal vote. The congress is a representation of a certain amount of inhabitants, therefore, the number of deputies can vary from one country to another.

Likewise, this is a space for debate and exhibition, where the laws and social problems of the country are discussed. The main function of the congress is to approve bills and some of its powers are:

  • Determine the political responsibility of the government, through the adoption by an absolute majority of the motion of censure.
  • Decree the state of siege by the absolute majority of the representatives according to the exclusive proposal of the Government.
  • Pardon those who have been constitutionally accused or pronounce themselves before the declarations of states of constitutional exception.

On the other hand, Congress is made up of two legislative chambers: the Chamber of Deputies and the Chamber of Senators. The Chamber of Deputies is also known as the lower house, due to its origins (they were elected representatives through general elections). The latter has the exclusive powers of supervising the acts of the Government, being able to adopt agreements, make observations, request information from the Government, summon the Ministers of State or create special investigative commissions.

On the other hand, the chamber of senators, also called the upper chamber, due to its origins (they were representatives who had hereditary positions for the nobility) has the power to declare guilt or innocence in the constitutional accusations accepted by the Chamber of Deputies, among others.


The Senate is the representation in Congress of the provinces or different territorial divisions of a federal state or country. It is one of the two chambers of representatives that make life in the congress of a nation. Originally in ancient England, these representatives inherited their positions due to their ties to the nobility, which is why it is also known as the upper house.

Today, in most democratic countries, senators, the name given to their members, are elected by citizens through universal, secret and direct suffrage. The Senate has among its main powers the following:

  • Declare guilt or innocence in constitutional accusations accepted by the Chamber of Deputies.
  • Accept or not the judicial actions that a person initiates against a Minister of State.
  • Grant or deny their consent to the acts of the President of the Republic in cases where the Constitution or the law require it.
  • Veto laws or decrees discussed and approved by the Chamber of Deputies, among others.

In view of the above, it can be said that the main differences between Congress and Senate are:

  • Congress is bicameral, that is, it has two chambers, the Chamber of Deputies or lower house and the Chamber of Senators or upper house, while the Senate is unicameral, that is, it is the lower house of the legislative power of a nation.
  • The Congress fully represents the entire nation while the Senate is the chamber of territorial representation (states or provinces).

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