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Study Notes

Unit 4 Essay Advice: "It is better to be a Senator than a Representative. Discuss"

AQA, Edexcel, OCR

Last updated 22 Mar 2021

This Study Note outlines the key terms and examples that you could when discussing whether the job of Senator is preferable to that of a Representative.

Start by taking a look at these key terms and making sure that you can define them:

  • US Congress
  • Democrats
  • Republicans
  • Legislative Branch
  • Advice and Consent Powers
  • Power of the Purse
  • 100 Senators
  • 435 Representatives
  • Ratification of Treaties
  • Congressional Committees
  • Equal legislative power
  • Balanced Bicameralism
  • Concurrent Passage Power
  • Term lengths
  • Political promotion
  • Enumerated powers.

Contemporary Examples

It is better to be a Senator:

  1. Senators are more likely to be Presidential nominees, Obama, McCain, Clinton and Kerry have all been Senators
  2. In impeachment trails such as in 2010 when Judge Thomas Porteous was impeached and tried by the Senate with a unanimous vote to convict.
  3. The Senate gets to confirm appointments to the Supreme Court such as Elena Kagan in 2010.

It is not better to be a Senator:

  1. The House of Representatives has the power to raise revenue through taxes. So the $1.8 trillion spending package that Obama signed in 2015 started in the House rather than the Senate.
  2. All impeachment proceedings must start in the House such as the efforts to set in motion impeachment proceedings against Barack Obama in 2012 and 2013
  3. Both houses have equal legislative power so if the House doesn’t pass a bill in the Conference Committee it dies such as the Lobbying and Ethics Reform Act 2007.

Historical Examples

It is better to be a Senator:

  1. The Senate can also derail a Presidential agenda if it refused to ratify a treaty such as the Treaty of Versailles in 1919.
  2. Senators due to the fact there are 20 committees and 68 sub committees means that they are more likely to get onto a committee and be make an impact on legislation.

It is not better to be a Senator:

  1. The House of Representatives chooses the President in the event of no majority or a tie in the Electoral College has happened in 1825 when John Quincy Adams was elected.
  2. Representatives normally have smaller constituencies so are likely to be more representative than their Senate colleagues

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