Powers & Functions of The U.S House Of Representatives

Tue, 08/06/2013 - 03:49 -- Umar Farooq

Legislative Powers

As compared to the Senate, the House of Representatives has less authority. It enjoys equal and coordinate authority with the Senate in legislative and financial spheres. Ordinarily, bill can originate in either House but money bills can only be originated in the House of Representatives. But this privilege of the House is not of much significance because the Senate can amend or reject both ordinary and money bills. In case of disagreement, the decision is either taken through mutual give and take policy or by a Conference Committee consisting of 3 to 9 members from each House is constituted to resolve the deadlock. If it fails the bill is considered as killed.

Executive Powers

The American Executive is of 'residential type. So the President and members of his Cabinet are, not responsible to the House of Representatives. Nor has the House been given any power to endorse appointments and treaties made by the President. It is only the Senate, which has the power to approve appointments and ratify treaties. The House can, however, control indirectly the executive by its control over public money. Moreover it shares with the Senate the power to declare war.

Judicial Powers

It has the exclusive right to initiate impeachment of the President, Vice-President and other high-ranking officers of USA:

Miscellaneous Functions

  1. The House has the absolute right to, elect the President of the USA from among the first three candidates if none of them is able to secure an absolute majority of votes in the presidential election.
  2. It shares with the Senate the power to propose amendments to the constitution.
  3. The House shares with the Senate the power to declare war.