The opening crawl of Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace says

Turmoil has engulfed the Galactic Republic. The taxation of trade routes to outlying star systems is in dispute. Hoping to resolve the matter with a blockade of deadly battleships, the greedy Trade Federation has stopped all shipping to the small planet of Naboo. While the congress of the Republic endlessly debates this alarming chain of events, the Supreme Chancellor has secretly dispatched two Jedi Knights, the guardians of peace and justice in the galaxy, to settle the conflict....

(emphasis mine)

Outside of this I don't recall ever hearing the congress referenced in Star Wars. Is congress the same as the senate or another organization?

Legends and new canon both accepted.

  • 2
    even though it may be unicameral, it's still generally appropriate to refer to the Senate as a Congress (in terms of real-world analogies). But you're right, it's a weird inconsistency and should have warned us of things to come ;)
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 19:04
  • 2
    Hmmm. Just because we never see a second house doesn't mean there isn't one. It'll be interesting to see whether anybody can find any unambiguous evidence one way or the other. Commented Nov 25, 2019 at 23:22
  • 1
    IIRC in The Clone Wars they use the terms pretty interchangeably...and we see Jar Jar (a representative, not a senator) bringing up motions before the whole Senate rather than a separate house.
    – Kitkat
    Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 16:58

3 Answers 3


According to Wookieepedia, they are the same:

The Galactic Senate, also referred to as the Galactic Congress, or the Republic Senate, was the governing body of the Galactic Republic.

The consensus is the same in a dedicated entry about Special session of Congress:

In the Galactic Republic, a special session of Congress, also known as a special session of the senate, was a period when the Galactic Senate—otherwise known as the Congress of the Republic—convened outside of the normal legislative session by order of the Supreme Chancellor.

(in both quotes above, emphasis in the original)

It would seem that the only appearances of the term congress in the films are the two ones you mention in your question and answer, respectively.

  • 1
    Is Wookieepedia really a definitive source though? Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 17:31
  • @DJSpicyDeluxe it's not a primary source, of course, hence it cannot be considered definitive; however, since it is a crowdsourced one, chances are that for such disambiguations, especially about works that have been around for a while (like the first 6 episodes), it is accurate.
    – desertnaut
    Commented Jan 3, 2020 at 17:55
  • 1
    Well, this will get the bounty if no one comes out with anything better, which is fine with me. I would have liked stronger evidence though, but it's possible that outside of what you and I have found there is nothing. Commented Jan 7, 2020 at 18:03

It would appear that the Congress is the same as the Senate. Near the end of Star Wars Episode III, Revenge of the Sith, it is stated that the Congress will be holding a special session. Shortly thereafter it shows Palpatine making a speech in the Senate. It can be assumed that this is the special session.

It is not definitive proof, as it could be a joint session, but this is probably the best information that will be found.


The Senate is the upper house of the legislative power of some countries ( galaxy in the case of Star wars). Therefore, the Senate is part of the Congress. A Congress is an assembly that exercises the legislative power of many countries (galaxy / planets in case of Star Wars).

  • 3
    Can you offer any evidence that this is that case in Star Wars?
    – Valorum
    Commented Jan 10, 2020 at 8:39

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