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Paul Weyrich once said "... leverage in the elections goes up as the voting populace goes down." This has particular relevance in the Senate.

This is because the US House of Representatives has 435 members while the Senate has 100. In addition, a senator is elected by the whole state while a House member is usually not.

Is the Senate more powerful because it has fewer members, thus giving those members more voting power?

  • but senators have a larger voting populous than reps, except in the sticks. – dandavis Sep 1 at 13:26
  • This is a somewhat confusing question as the title seems to want to compare the bodies (Senate vs House) while the final question asks about individual power... which is a somewhat obvious question. – SX welcomes ageist gossip Sep 1 at 16:37
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A US Senator generally more powerful than a US Representative, yes.

  • There are fewer senators so each one has more power.
  • Senate rules generally give individual senators more power (in part because there are fewer senators to manage) and Senate leaders less power. The filibuster is one such rules but there are many such procedural rules. Conversely, since House rules generally give the leaders a great deal of power, the Speaker of the House is arguably more powerful than any senator.
  • Generally, senators are more senior politicians since they need to win statewide elections rather than district elections so they have usually spent longer building their name recognition.

That is different, though, from the question of whether the Senate itself is more powerful than the House which has nothing to do with the relative size of the bodies. The Senate as an institution is more powerful than the House because the Constitution gives it the power to approve appointments and to ratify treaties in addition to requiring it to approve legislation like the House. Originally, the requirement that all revenue bills had to originate in the House was intended make the House as an institution more equal but that is pretty trivially worked around by simply taking any revenue bill the House has passed, removing the entire text, and replacing it with whatever the Senate wants to pass.

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  • That is interesting. So it is basically both ways. First the smaller population does give it more power. And, the Senate has powers like treaties that the House doesn't. – Michael Mormon Sep 1 at 12:41
  • What do you mean "require[d] to approve legislation?" McConnell seems content to not. – Azor Ahai -- he him Sep 1 at 14:31
  • Re "replacing the entire text", but then the House would have to approve the Senate version, which they probably wouldn't. – jamesqf Sep 1 at 16:14
  • @jamesqf The point is that the originating clause has basically zero effect on where bills come from in reality. – pboss3010 Sep 1 at 17:20
  • @jamesqf Or they might, and we end up with the ACA. If only, eh? – zibadawa timmy Sep 2 at 1:58
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Only the Senate ratifies treaties; the House of Representatives has no role.

Only the Senate confirms appointments of officers by the president, including members of the cabinet, federal judges including Supreme Court justices, ambassadors, federal district attorneys, federal marshals, the FBI director, the postmaster general, etc. (There is only one office for which confirmation is required of both houses: when the president fills a mid-term vacancy in the vice-presidency under the 25th Amendment. I think that has happened twice.)

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