Congress and Parliament are vital entities of the governments tasked to represent the people and establish a nation’s laws.
Features and functions of Congress
Congress is the legislature of a federal government. In terms of functions, Congress modifies, approves, or rejects laws and supervises the executive branch [Source]. Members of Congress are elected through primary elections.
Features and Functions of Parliament
The word parliament entails a discussion, discourse or negotiation carried out by certain parties. It comes up with ideas to solve a problem or enhance a situation [Source]. It can be defined as a group of people who make or change its laws, and decide what policies the country should follow [Source]. Functions of parliament include representing the electorate, making laws, and overseeing the government via hearings and inquiries. Members of Parliament are elected by party leaders.
Similarities between Congress and Parliament
The similarities between Congress and Parliament include representing the needs of the people. They both advocate or reject some laws as a way of enhancing people’s livelihood. Both Congress and Parliament are entrusted by a nation to come up with legal ways and laws which smoothen lives.
Also, they indulge in policies on international relations and co-exist with other countries. Members of Congress and Parliament can be politicians. Issues and laws are debated in Congress and Parliament before being approved. These entities also weigh the validity of policies or laws before they are given to the people or taken away. Congress and Parliament advocate for human rights and needs, as well as standing up for a nation’s vision.
Differences between Congress and Parliament
Differences between Congress and Parliament are that members of Congress are elected. Members of parliament are chosen by party leader heads. Parliament’s primary duty is to debate on national issues. Congress modifies, approves, or rejects laws and supervises the executive branch.
Another notable difference is that “Members of Parliament choose the head of the executive branch. They have to vote with the views of the government or else seat will be taken.” “Members of Congress do not choose the head, so they can vote they want without worrying about angering the government” [Source].
Members of Congress tend to get paid well and are independent as compared to members of parliament. More so “Members of Parliament work for the views of the political party.” “Members of Congress work for their constituents in their districts and their own self-gain”.
Congress is more decentralized as a member will be working for his or her constituency so they exert little effort on the president’s plans.
Is Parliament better than Congress?
In answering this question, Laura Cashman in an article titled ‘Brits do it Better: Four Reasons Why the UK’s Parliament is better than Congress’, noted that the UK parliament is better than Congress.
This is because a parliament has an impartial speaker who ensures there is balance in solving issues. The members are kept in check of executing their respective duties. Parliament has more members than Congress. It gives a platform for comprehensive debating and suggestion of many good ideas “because bigger is always better” [Source].
Cashman ranked Congress lower than parliament because it has “no legislative questioning of the government.” So most issues are not revealed in terms of the government’s conduct. Also, Congress has too much Senate Power and is too much decentralized, while parliament touches on national issues.
Which Legislative body is stronger- the US congress or the UK parliament?
According to Cashman, “Parliament functions better than Congress. This is shown through the several key functions that are missing from Congress. The lack of an impartial Speaker, small House of Representatives, too much Senate power, and no legislative questioning of the government.” [Source]. Cashman concluded that most governments have flaws but Congress needs to step up when it comes to representing what the people need.
Compare the British House of Lords with the American Senate
The House of Lords of Britain and the Senate of the USA form the upper Houses of their respective Parliaments. Members of the Senate referred to as senators are elected by the people and many members of the House of Lords are appointed by the Queen. There are Elected hereditary members which include Duke, Marquess, Viscount, Earl, Baron, among others, and the Church of England also appoints Archbishops and Bishops to the House of Lords.
Senators are in office for six years, while “the period of office of life and hereditary peers in the House of Lords is for the rest of their lives, and the Bishops sit in the office until they retire as a Bishop.”[Source].
Other bills can be introduced in the House of Lords except for money bills. It cannot block money bills for more than a month. “The Senate cannot amend proposed laws to install taxation or proposed legislation that appropriates for revenue or money for the ordinary annual services of the Government. But the Senate can send bills back to the House of Representatives with a statement requesting the amendments”
Senators receive an allowance of four hundred pounds a year and an annual base salary of $174,000 per annum. Some House of Lords’ members do not receive salary for their parliamentary duties but can get an allowance. The House of Lords has many members presented as 668 Life Peers, 26 Bishops, and 87 Hereditary peers, while there are only 100 Senators in the Senate of the USA.
Some views argue that the House of Lords is not fully active in politics as compared to the US Source and the members can be impartial [Source].