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What are the respective strengths and weaknesses of the House of Representatives and...

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katekyo | Student | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:08 AM via web

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What are the respective strengths and weaknesses of the House of Representatives and the Senate? 

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 5, 2013 at 2:16 AM (Answer #1)

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The people who wrote the Constitution wanted the House of Representatives and the Senate to be rather different.  They wanted the House to be more of a populist body while the Senate was to be a more deliberative and elite body.  This has helped to shape the respective strengths and weaknesses of these two houses.

The House’s main strength is that it has an easier time getting things done.  The individual members of the House have much less power than the individual members of the Senate do.  Therefore, the House can pass legislation much more easily than the Senate.  The major weakness that goes along with this is that the House is somewhat less democratic.  Its majority party has the ability to push things through without support from the minority at all.

The Senate has the opposite strengths and weaknesses.  Its major weakness is that it is very easy for a minority of Senators to block legislation.  This means that the Senate can be the cause of a great deal of gridlock.  The strength of the Senate is that its rules promote consensus and a greater level of democracy.

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