Britain House of Lords vs Senate of USA

The House of Lords of Britain and the Senate of the USA are the upper Houses of their respective Parliaments. Though there are similarities between them, distinctions can’t be left unnoticed. Here is an article that discusses the comparison between the upper Houses of the Parliaments of Britain and the USA i.e. House of Lords and Senate.

Note: Facts and figures mentioned here are as of June 2021.

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Members of the Senate and House of Lords

Members of the Senate (senators) are chosen directly by the people. In comparison, there are a few distinct ways to be a member of the House of Lords.

  • Most members of the House of Lords are appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister and are described as life peers.
  • Archbishops and Bishops are appointed by the Church of England.
  • Any Duke, Marquess, Viscount, Earl, Baron, Marchioness, Duchess, Countess, Baroness, or Viscountess is eligible to be elected by all or some of the other peers in the House of Lords and are known as Elected hereditary members.

Tenure of Office of Members of Senate and House of Lords

The tenure of the office of senators is six years. On the other hand, 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.

Can the House of Lords and Senate Introduce Legislation?

In Britain, bills may be commenced in either House, House of Lords or House of Commons, except money bills. The House of Lords cannot block money bills for more than one month, and the other bills that emerge in the House of Commons cannot be blocked for more than two parliamentary sessions or one year.

Whereas money bills are not introduced in the Senate of USA, and accordingly, the Senate cannot make changes to the money bill. The Senate cannot amend proposed laws to implement 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.

Remuneration of the Members of Senate and House of Lords

Most members of the House of Lords do not obtain salaries for their parliamentary duties. But they are eligible to receive allowances and, within certain extents, travel expenses that they induce in carrying out their parliamentary duties.

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The members of the House of Lords who do not get salaries can claim a flat rate attendance allowance of £153 or £305 (new rate from 1st April 2018). Or they may also prefer not to receive any claim for each day of attendance in the House.

Some members of the House of Lords also receive salary due to the offices they hold. The Lord Speaker, the Chairman of Committees, and the Principal Deputy Chairman are paid from the budget of the House of Lords. And, the Government ministers are paid by the relevant government departments.

On the contrary, until the Parliament otherwise provides, each Senator receive an allowance of four hundred pounds a year. Further, currently, each Senator receives an annual base salary of $174,000 per annum.

Strength of the Senate and House of Lords

The number of members of the House of Lords is huge. It is the second-largest legislative chamber in the world after China, and no other bi-cameral parliament has an upper house bigger than the lower House. Accordingly, the number of members of the House of Lords are: 668 Life Peers, 26 Bishops and 87 Hereditary peers. In comparison, there are 100 Senators in the Senate of the USA.

Subhashini Parihar
WritingLaw » Law Notes » Comparison Between Britain’s House of Lords and USA Senate Law Study Material
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