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Wikipedia: United States Senate

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United States Senate

Type Upper House
President of the Senate Richard B. Cheney, (R)
since January 20, 2001
President pro tempore Robert C. Byrd, (D)
since January 4, 2007
Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D)
since January 4, 2007
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, (R)
since January 4, 2007
Members 100
Political groups Democratic Party
Republican Party
Last elections November 7, 2006
Meeting place Senate Chamber
United States Capitol
Washington, DC
United States of America
Web site http://www.senate.gov

The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the lower house being the House of Representatives (the United States Constitution does not use these terms, however).

In the Senate, each state is represented by two members. Membership is therefore based on the equal representation of each state, regardless of population, for a total membership of 100. Senators serve six-year terms that are staggered so elections are held for a third of the seats (a class) every second year.

The Senate is regarded as a more deliberative body than the House of Representatives; the Senate is smaller and its members serve longer terms, allowing for a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere that is somewhat more insulated from public opinion than the House.[1] The Senate has several exclusive powers enumerated in Article One of the Constitution not granted to the House; most significantly, the President cannot ratify treaties or, with rare exception, make important appointments — most significantly ambassadors, members of the federal judiciary (including the Supreme Court), governors of the Federal Reserve and members of the Cabinet — without the advice and consent of the Senate.

Contents

History

Main article: History of the United States Senate

The Framers of the Constitution created a bicameral Congress out of a desire to have two houses to be accountable to each other. One house was intended to be a “people’s house” that would be sensitive to public opinion. The other house was intended to represent the states. Senators were selected by the state legislatures, not by the voters, until 1913 with the passage of the Seventeenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. It was to be a more deliberate forum of elite wisdom where six-year terms insulated the senators from public opinion. The Constitution provides that the approval of both chambers is necessary for the passage of legislation. The Senate of the United States was named after the ancient Roman Senate. The chamber of the United States Senate is located in the north wing of the Capitol building, in Washington, D.C., the national capital. The House of Representatives convenes in the south wing of the same building.

Members and elections

This article is part of the series:
United States Senate
Great Seal of the United States Senate
Members
Current
(by seniority · by age · by class)

Former
Hill committees (DSCC, NRSC)

President pro tempore (list)
Dean · Presiding officer

Party leaders and Assistants

Democratic Caucus
Republican Conference

Politics and procedure
Advice and consent
Closed session (list)
Cloture · Committees (list)
Executive session · Filibuster
History · Quorum · Quorum call
Recess appointment · Salaries
Seal · Standing Rules · Traditions
Unanimous consent
VPs’ tie-breaking votes
Places
United States Capitol
Senate office buildings
(Dirksen · Hart · Russell)
See also: Elections in the United States

Article One of the Constitution states that each state is entitled to two senators. Originally, each state legislature selected their senators; but since the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913; senators have been directly elected. The Constitution further stipulates that no constitutional amendment may deprive a state of its equal suffrage, regardless of population, in the Senate without the consent of the state concerned.[citation needed] The District of Columbia and territories are not entitled to any representation.[2] As there are presently 50 states, the Senate has 100 members. The notion of senate superiority suggests that the senator from each state with the longer tenure is known as the “senior senator,” and their counterpart is the “junior senator”; this convention, however, does not have any official significance.

Senators serve terms of six years each; the terms are staggered so that approximately one-third of the Senate seats are up for election every two years. The staggering of the terms is arranged such that both seats from a given state are never contested in the same general election. Senate elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November, Election Day, and coincide with elections for the House of Representatives.[3] Each senator is elected by his or her state as a whole. Generally, the Republican and Democratic parties choose their candidates in primary elections, which are typically held several months before the general elections. Ballot access rules for independent and third party candidates vary from state to state. For the general election, almost all states use simple plurality voting, under which the candidate with the most votes (not necessarily an absolute majority) wins. Exceptions include Louisiana, which use the two-round system. In some states, runoffs are held if no candidate wins a majority.

Once elected, a senator continues to serve until the end of his or her term, death, or resignation. Furthermore, the Constitution permits the Senate to expel any member by a two-thirds majority vote. Fifteen senators have been expelled in the history of the Senate; fourteen of them were removed in 1861 and 1862 for supporting the Confederate secession. No senator has been expelled since, although many senators have chosen to resign when faced with expulsion proceedings (for example, Bob Packwood in 1995). The Senate has also passed several resolutions censuring members; censure requires only a simple majority and does not remove a senator from office.

The Seventeenth Amendment provides that vacancies in the Senate, however they arise, may be filled by special elections. A special election for a Senate seat need not be held immediately after the vacancy arises; instead, it is typically conducted at the same time as the next biennial congressional election. If a special election for one seat happens to coincide with a general election for the state’s other seat, then the two elections are not combined, but are instead contested separately. A senator elected in a special election takes office immediately and serves until the original six-year term expires, and not for a full term. Furthermore, the amendment provides that any state legislature may empower the Governor to temporarily fill vacancies. The interim appointee remains in office until the special election can be held. All states have passed laws authorizing the Governor to make temporary appointments; however, Alaska voters repealed that authorization for their Governor by ballot initiative in 2004.[4][5]

Benefits

United States

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Politics and government of
the United States



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US Government Portal
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The annual salary of each senator, as of 2008, is $169,300;[6] the President pro tempore and party leaders receive $188,100.[7] Analysis of financial disclosure forms by CNN in June 2003 revealed that at least 40 of the then senators were millionaires.[8]In addition to their salaries, senators retirement and health benefits identical to other federal employees, and are fully vested after five years of service.[9]

Members elected since 1984 are covered by the Federal Employees’ Retirement System (FERS). Those elected prior to 1984 were covered by the Civil Service Retirement System (CSRS). In 1984 all members were given the option of remaining with CSRS or switching for FERS. As it is for all other federal employees, congressional retirement is funded through taxes and the participants’ contributions. Members of Congress under FERS contribute 1.3% of their salary into the FERS retirement plan and pay 6.2% of their salary in Social Security taxes. The amount of a senator’s pension depends on the years of service and the average of the highest 3 years of his or her salary. By law, the starting amount of a senator’s retirement annuity may not exceed 80% of his or her final salary. In 2006, the average annual pension for retired senators and representatives under CSRS was $60,972, while those who retired under FERS, or in combination with CSRS, was $35,952.[10]

In general, senators are regarded as more important political figures than members of the House of Representatives because there are fewer of them, and because they serve for longer terms, represent larger constituencies (except for House at-large districts, which also comprise entire states), sit on more committees, and have more staffers. The prestige commonly associated with the Senate is reflected by the background of presidents and presidential candidates; far more sitting senators have been nominees for the presidency than sitting representatives.

Qualifications

Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution sets forth three qualifications for senators: each senator must be at least 30 years old, must have been a citizen of the United States for at least the past nine years, and must be (at the time of the election) an inhabitant of the state they seek to represent. The age and citizenship qualifications for senators are more stringent than those for representatives. In Federalist No. 62, James Madison justified this arrangement by arguing that the “senatorial trust” called for a “greater extent of information and stability of character.”

Furthermore, under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, any federal or state officer who takes the requisite oath to support the Constitution, but later engages in rebellion or aids the enemies of the United States, is disqualified from becoming a senator. This provision, which came into force soon after the end of the Civil War, was intended to prevent those who sided with the Confederacy from serving. The amendment, however, provides that a disqualified individual may still serve if two-thirds of both Houses of Congress vote to remove the disability.

Under the Constitution, the Senate (not the judiciary) is empowered to judge if an individual is qualified to serve. During its early years, however, the Senate did not closely scrutinize the qualifications of members. As a result, three individuals that were constitutionally disqualified due to age were admitted to the Senate: 29-year-old Henry Clay (1806), and 28-year-olds Armistead Mason (1816) and John Eaton (1818). Such an occurrence, however, has not been repeated since.[11] In 1934, Rush Holt was elected to the Senate at the age of 29; he waited until he turned 30 to take the oath of office. Likewise, Joseph Biden was elected to the Senate shortly before his 30th birthday in 1972; he had passed his 30th birthday by the time the Senate conducted its swearing-in ceremony for that year’s electees in January 1973.

Officers

The Senate meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The Senate meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

The party with a majority of seats is known as the majority party; if two or more parties are tied, the Vice President’s affiliation determines which party is the majority party. The next-largest party is known as the minority party. The President pro tempore, committee chairmen, and some other officials are generally from the majority party; they have counterparts (for instance, the “ranking members” of committees) in the minority party. Independents and members of third parties (so long as they do not caucus with or support either of the larger parties) are not considered in determining which is the majority party.

The Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States serves as the President of the Senate and holds a vote that can only be cast to break a tie. By convention, the Vice President presides over very few Senate debates, attending only on important ceremonial occasions (such as the swearing-in of new senators) or at times when his vote may be needed to break a tie vote. The Constitution authorizes the Senate to elect a President pro tempore (Latin for “president for a time”) to preside in the Vice President’s absence; the most senior senator of the majority party is customarily chosen to serve in this position. Like the Vice President, the President pro tempore does not normally preside over the Senate, but typically delegates the responsibility of presiding to junior senators of the majority party. Frequently, freshmen senators (newly elected members) are allowed to preside so that they may become accustomed to the rules and procedures of the body.

The presiding officer sits in a chair in the front of the Senate chamber. The powers of the presiding officer of the Senate are far less extensive than those of the Speaker of the House. The presiding officer calls on Senators to speak (by the rules of the Senate, the first Senator who rises is recognized); ruling on points of order (objections by Senators that a rule has been breached, subject to appeal to the whole chamber); and announcing the results of votes.

Each party elects Senate party leaders. Floor leaders act as the party chief spokespeople. The Senate Majority Leader is responsible for controlling the agenda of the chamber; for example, by scheduling debates and votes. Each party elects a whip to assist the leader; the whip works to ensure that his party’s senators vote as the party leadership desires.

The Senate is served by several officials who are not members. The Senate’s chief administrative officer is the Secretary of the Senate, who maintains public records, disburses salaries, monitors the acquisition of stationery and supplies, and oversees clerks. The Secretary is aided in his work by the Assistant Secretary of the Senate. Another official is the Sergeant-at-Arms, who, as the Senate’s chief law enforcement officer, maintains order and security on the Senate premises. The Capitol Police handles routine police work, with the Sergeant-at-Arms primarily responsible for general oversight. Other employees include the Chaplain, who is elected by the Senate, and Pages, who are appointed.

Procedure

A typical Senate desk
A typical Senate desk

Like the House of Representatives, the Senate meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C. At one end of the Chamber of the Senate is a dais from which the presiding officer presides. The lower tier of the dais is used by clerks and other officials. One hundred desks are arranged in the Chamber in a semicircular pattern and are divided by a wide central aisle. By tradition, Democrats sit on the right and Republicans to the left of the center aisle as viewed from the presiding officer’s chair. Each senator chooses a desk on the basis of seniority within his party. By custom, the leader of each party sits in the front row along the center aisle. Sessions of the Senate are opened with a special prayer or invocation and typically convene on weekdays. Sessions of the Senate are generally open to the public and are broadcast live on television by C-SPAN 2.

Senate procedure depends not only on the rules, but also on a variety of customs and traditions. In many cases, the Senate waives some of its stricter rules by unanimous consent. Unanimous consent agreements are typically negotiated beforehand by party leaders. Any senator may block such an agreement, but in practice objections are rare. The presiding officer enforces the rules of the Senate, and may warn members who deviate from them. The presiding officer sometimes uses the gavel of the Senate to maintain order.

A “hold” is placed when the Leader’s office is notified that a senator intends to object to a request for unanimous consent from the Senate to consider or pass a measure. A hold may be placed for any reason and can be lifted by a senator at any time. A senator may place a hold simply to review a bill, to negotiate changes to the bill, or to kill the bill. A bill can be held for as long as the senator who objects to the bill wishes to block its consideration.

Holds can be overcome, but require time consuming procedures such as filing cloture. Holds are considered to be private communications between a senator and the Leader, and are sometimes referred to as “secret holds.” A senator may disclose that he or she has placed a hold.

The Constitution provides that a majority of the Senate constitutes a quorum to do business. Under the rules and customs of the Senate, a quorum is always assumed to be present unless a quorum call explicitly demonstrates otherwise. Any senator may request a quorum call by “suggesting the absence of a quorum”; a clerk then calls the roll of the Senate and notes which members are present. In practice, senators rarely request quorum calls to establish the presence of a quorum. Instead, quorum calls are generally used to temporarily delay proceedings; usually such delays are used while waiting for a senator to reach the floor to speak or to give leaders time to negotiate. Once the need for a delay has ended, any senator may request unanimous consent to rescind the quorum call.

During debates, senators may only speak if called upon by the presiding officer, but the presiding officer is required to recognize the first senator who rises to speak. Thus, the presiding officer has little control over the course of debate. Customarily, the Majority Leader and Minority Leader are accorded priority during debates even if another senator rises first. All speeches must be addressed to the presiding officer, who is addressed as “Mr. President” or “Madam President”, and not to another member; other Members must be referred to in the third person. In most cases, senators do not refer to each other by name, but by state or position, using forms such as “the senior senator from Virginia”, “the gentlewoman from California”, or “my distinguished friend the Chairman of the Judiciary Committee”.

Aside from decorum, or civility, there are very few restrictions on the content of speeches; there is no requirement that speeches be germane to the matter before the Senate.

The rules of the Senate provide that no senator may make more than two speeches on a motion or bill on the same legislative day. A legislative day begins when the Senate convenes and ends with adjournment; hence, it does not necessarily coincide with the calendar day. The length of these speeches is not limited by the rules; thus, in most cases, senators may speak for as long as they please. Often, the Senate adopts unanimous consent agreements imposing time limits. In other cases (for example, for the budget process), limits are imposed by statute. In general, however, the right to unlimited debate is preserved.

The filibuster is a tactic used to defeat bills and motions by prolonging debate indefinitely. A filibuster may entail long speeches, dilatory motions, and an extensive series of proposed amendments. The Senate may end a filibuster by invoking cloture. In most cases, cloture requires the support of three-fifths of the Senate; however, if the matter before the Senate involves changing the rules of the body – this includes amending provisions regarding the filibuster – a two-thirds majority is required. In current practice, the threat of filibuster is of more importance than its actual use; almost any motion that does not have the support of three-fifths of the Senate effectively fails. Cloture is invoked rarely, particularly because bipartisan support is usually necessary to obtain the required supermajority, and a bill that already has bipartisan support is rarely subject to threats of filibuster in the first place. If the Senate does invoke cloture, debate does not end immediately; instead, further debate is limited to 30 additional hours unless increased by another three-fifths vote. The longest filibuster speech in the history of the Senate was delivered by Strom Thurmond, who spoke for over 24 hours in an unsuccessful attempt to block the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1957.[12]

When debate concludes, the motion in question is put to a vote. In many cases, the Senate votes by voice vote; the presiding officer puts the question, and Members respond either “Aye” (in favor of the motion) or “No” (against the motion). The presiding officer then announces the result of the voice vote. Any senator, however, may challenge the presiding officer’s assessment and request a recorded vote. The request may be granted only if it is seconded by one-fifth of the senators present. In practice, however, senators second requests for recorded votes as a matter of courtesy. When a recorded vote is held, the clerk calls the roll of the Senate in alphabetical order; each senator responds when his or her name is called. Senators who miss the roll call may still cast a vote as long as the recorded vote remains open. The vote is closed at the discretion of the presiding officer, but must remain open for a minimum of 15 minutes. If the vote is tied, the Vice President, if present, is entitled to a casting vote. If the Vice President is not present, the motion fails.

On occasion, the Senate may go into what is called a secret or closed session. During a closed session, the chamber doors are closed, and the galleries are completely cleared of anyone not sworn to secrecy, not instructed in the rules of the closed session, or not essential to the session. Closed sessions are quite rare and usually held only when the senate is discussing sensitive subject matter such as information critical to national security, private communications from the President, or deliberations during impeachment trials. Any senator may call for and force a closed session as long as the motion is seconded by at least one other member.

Committees

Dirksen Senate Office Building Committee Room 226 is used for hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Dirksen Senate Office Building Committee Room 226 is used for hearings by the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Main article: U.S. Congressional committee
See List of United States Senate committees for the full list.

The Senate uses committees (as well as their subcommittees) for a variety of purposes, including the review of bills and the oversight of the executive branch. The appointment of committee members is formally made by the whole Senate, but the choice of members is actually made by the political parties. Generally, each party honors the preferences of individual senators, giving priority on the basis of seniority. Each party is allocated seats on committees in proportion to its overall strength.

Most committee work is performed by 16 standing committees, each of which has jurisdiction over a specific field such as Finance or Foreign Relations. Each standing committee may consider, amend, and report bills that fall under its jurisdiction. Furthermore, each standing committee considers presidential nominations to offices related to its jurisdiction. (For instance, the Judiciary Committee considers nominees for judgeships, and the Foreign Relations Committee considers nominees for positions in the Department of State.) Committees have extensive powers with regard to bills and nominees; they may block nominees and impede bills from reaching the floor of the Senate. Standing committees also oversee the departments and agencies of the executive branch. In discharging their duties, standing committees have the power to hold hearings and to subpoena witnesses and evidence.

The Senate also has several committees that are not considered standing committees. Such bodies are generally known as select committees or special committees; examples include the Select Committee on Ethics and the Special Committee on Aging. Legislation is referred to some of these committees, although the bulk of legislative work is performed by the standing committees. Committees may be established on an ad hoc basis for specific purposes; for instance, the Senate Watergate Committee was a special committee created to investigate the Watergate scandal. Such temporary committees cease to exist after fulfilling their tasks.

The Congress includes joint committees, which include members of both the Senate and the House of Representatives. Some joint committees oversee independent government bodies; for instance, the Joint Committee on the Library oversees the Library of Congress. Other joint committees serve to make advisory reports; for example, there exists a Joint Committee on Taxation. Bills and nominees are not referred to joint committees. Hence, the power of joint committees is considerably lower than those of standing committees.

Each Senate committee and subcommittee is led by a chairman (usually a member of the majority party). Formerly, committee chairmanship was determined purely by seniority; as a result, several elderly senators continued to serve as chairmen despite severe physical infirmity or even senility.[13] Committee chairmen are elected, but, in practice, seniority is rarely bypassed. The chairmen hold extensive powers: they control the committee’s agenda, and so decide how much, if any, time to give to a bill; they act with the power of the committee in disapproving or delaying a bill or a nomination by the president; they manage the bills the committee reports on the floor, which was particularly important in mid-century, when floor amendments were thought uncollegial. They also have considerable influence: a Senator who cooperates with his committee chairman is likely to accomplish more good for his State than one who does not. The Senate rules and customs were reformed in the twentieth century, largely in the 1970’s; committee chairmen have somewhat less power, and are in general more moderate and collegial in exercising it, than they were before reform.[14] The second-highest member, the spokesperson on the committee for the minority party, is known in most cases as the Ranking Member.[15] In the Select Committee on Intelligence and the Select Committee on Ethics, however, the senior minority member is known as the Vice Chairman.

Legislative functions

Further information: Act of Congress

Bills may be introduced in either House of Congress. However, the Constitution provides that “All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives.” As a result, the Senate does not have the power to initiate bills imposing taxes. Furthermore, the House of Representatives holds that the Senate does not have the power to originate appropriation bills, or bills authorizing the expenditure of federal funds. Historically, the Senate has disputed the interpretation advocated by the House. However, whenever the Senate originates an appropriations bill, the House simply refuses to consider it, thereby settling the dispute in practice. The constitutional provision barring the Senate from introducing revenue bills is based on the practice of the British Parliament, in which only the House of Commons may originate such measures.

Although the Constitution gave the House the power to initiate revenue bills, in practice the Senate is equal to the House in the respects of taxation and spending. As Woodrow Wilson wrote:[16]

[T]he Senate’s right to amend [general appropriation bills] has been allowed the widest possible scope. The upper house may add to them what it pleases; may go altogether outside of their original provisions and tack to them entirely new features of legislation, altering not only the amounts but even the objects of expenditure, and making out of the materials sent them by the popular chamber measures of an almost totally new character.

The approval of both the Senate and the House of Representatives is required for any bill, including a revenue bill, to become law. Both Houses must pass the exact same version of the bill; if there are differences, they may be resolved by a conference committee, which includes members of both bodies.

Checks and balances

The Constitution provides several unique functions for the Senate that form its ability to “check and balance” the powers of other elements of the Federal Government. These include the requirement that the Senate may advise and must consent to the President’s government appointments; also the Senate must ratify all treaties with foreign governments; it tries all impeachments, and it elects the Vice President in the event no person gets a majority of the electoral votes.

The President can make certain appointments only with the advice and consent of the Senate. Officials whose appointments require the Senate’s approval include members of the Cabinet, heads of most federal executive agencies, ambassadors, Justices of the Supreme Court, and other federal judges. Under the Constitution, a large number of government appointments are subject to potential confirmation; however, Congress has passed legislation to authorize the appointment of many officials without the Senate’s consent (usually, confirmation requirements are reserved for those officials with the most significant final decision-making authority). Typically, a nominee is first subject to a hearing before a Senate committee. Thereafter, the nomination is considered by the full Senate. The majority of nominees are confirmed, but in a small number of cases each year, Senate Committees will purposely fail to act on a nominations in order to block it. Also, the President sometimes withdraws nominations when they appear unlikely to be confirmed. Because of this, outright rejections of nominees on the Senate Floor are quite infrequent (there have been only nine Cabinet nominees rejected outright in the history of the United States).

The Senate has the power to try impeachments; shown above is Theodore R. Davis' drawing of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, 1867.

The Senate has the power to try impeachments; shown above is Theodore R. Davis’ drawing of the impeachment trial of President Andrew Johnson, 1867.

The powers of the Senate with respect to nominations are, however, subject to some constraints. For instance, the Constitution provides that the President may make an appointment during a congressional recess without the Senate’s advice and consent. The recess appointment remains valid only temporarily; the office becomes vacant again at the end of the next congressional session. Nevertheless, Presidents have frequently used recess appointments to circumvent the possibility that the Senate may reject the nominee. Furthermore, as the Supreme Court held in Myers v. United States, although the Senate’s advice and consent is required for the appointment of certain executive branch officials, it is not necessary for their removal.[17]

The Senate also has a role in the process of ratifying treaties. The Constitution provides that the President may only ratify a treaty if two-thirds of the senators vote to grant advice and consent. However, not all international agreements are considered treaties, and therefore do not require the Senate’s approval. Congress has passed laws authorizing the President to conclude executive agreements without action by the Senate. Similarly, the President may make congressional-executive agreements with the approval of a simple majority in each House of Congress, rather than a two-thirds majority in the Senate. Neither executive agreements nor congressional-executive agreements are mentioned in the Constitution, leading some to suggest that they unconstitutionally circumvent the treaty-ratification process. However, the validity of such agreements has been upheld by courts.[18]

The Constitution empowers the House of Representatives to impeach federal officials for “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” and empowers the Senate to try such impeachments. If the sitting President of the United States is being tried, the Chief Justice of the United States presides over the trial. During any impeachment trial, senators are constitutionally required to sit on oath or affirmation. Conviction requires a two-thirds majority of the senators present. A convicted official is automatically removed from office; in addition, the Senate may stipulate that the defendant be banned from holding office in the future. No further punishment is permitted during the impeachment proceedings; however, the party may face criminal penalties in a normal court of law.

In the history of the United States, the House of Representatives has impeached sixteen officials, of whom seven were convicted. (One resigned before the Senate could complete the trial.)[19] Only two Presidents of the United States have ever been impeached: Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998. Both trials ended in acquittal; in Johnson’s case, the Senate fell one vote short of the two-thirds majority required for conviction.

Under the Twelfth Amendment, the Senate has the power to elect the Vice President if no vice presidential candidate receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College. The Twelfth Amendment requires the Senate to choose from the two candidates with the highest numbers of electoral votes. Electoral College deadlocks are very rare; in the history of the United States, the Senate has only had to break a deadlock once, in 1837, when it elected Richard Mentor Johnson. The power to elect the President in the case of an Electoral College deadlock belongs to the House of Representatives.

Current composition and latest election results

Main articles: United States Senate elections, 2006, 110th United States Congress, and Current members of the United States Congress
Further information: List of current United States Senators by seniority
e•d Summary of the November 7, 2006 United States Senate election results
Party Breakdown Seats Popular Vote
Up Elected Not Up 2004 2006 +/− Vote %
Democratic Party 17 22 27 44 49 +5 33,929,202 53.91%
Republican Party 15 9 40 55 49 −6 26,674,169 42.38%
Independents 1 2 0 1 2 +1 879,032 1.40%
Libertarian Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 614,629 0.98%
Green Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 414,660 0.66%
Constitution Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 132,155 0.21%
Peace and Freedom Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 117,764 0.19%
Write-in 0 0 0 0 0 0 13,567 0.02%
Socialist Workers Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 10,463 0.02%
Personal Choice Party 0 0 0 0 0 0 9,089 0.01%
Socialist Party USA 0 0 0 0 0 0 2,490 0.00%
Others 0 0 0 0 0 0 141,074 0.22%
Total 33 33 67 100 100 0 62,938,294 100%
Voter turnout: 29.7 %
Sources: Dave Leip’s Atlas of U.S. Elections, United States Elections Project at George Mason University

The 110th United States Congress, which began January 4, 2007:

Senate composition following 2006 elections

Senate composition following 2006 elections

Affiliation Members Note
Democratic Party 49
Republican Party 49
Independent 2 Bernie Sanders and Joe Lieberman caucus with the Democrats.
Majority 51 The Democratic Caucus (51 members) is in the majority.
Total 100

Note: In the months between the election and the swearing in of the Congress, Sen. Joe Lieberman (Connecticut for Lieberman Party-CT) initially refused to rule out caucusing with the Republicans, which would have put Republicans in control of the Senate.[20] A similar situation happened in the Great Senate Deadlock of 1881.[21] However, any future changes in the party composition in the Senate during the 110th Congress would not change Democratic control of the Senate due to the organizing resolutions agreed to at the beginning of the session.[22]

See also

  • Women in the United States Senate
  • Demographics of the United States Congress
  • List of former United States Senators

Footnotes

  1. ^ See, for this commonplace, Samuel C. Patterson “Party Leadership in the U. S. Senate, Legislative Studies Quarterly, Vol. 14, No. 3. (Aug., 1989), pp. 393-413. For the intention to make the Senate less dependent upon public opinion, see the Federalist Papers #62 and 63.
  2. ^ The District of Columbia elects two Shadow Senators, but they are officials of the D.C. city government and not members of the U.S. Senate.
  3. ^ 2 U.S.C. § 1
  4. ^ Elections. United States Senate. Retrieved on 19 June 2006.
  5. ^ Alaska’s ballot initiatives. Alaska Division of Elections (August 3, 2006). Retrieved on 2007-12-21.
  6. ^ Salaries. United States Senate. Retrieved on 19 June 2006.
  7. ^ USGovInfo.com (accessed Dec. 14, 2007).
  8. ^ Loughlin, Sean and Yoon, Robert. “Millionaires populate U.S. Senate”. CNN, 13 June 2003. Retrieved on 19 June 2006.
  9. ^ USGovInfo.com (accessed Dec. 14, 2007).
  10. ^ USGovInfo.com (accessed Dec. 14, 2007).
  11. ^ 1801-1850, November 16, 1818: Youngest Senator. United States Senate. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  12. ^ Quinton, Jeff. “Thurmond’s Filibuster”. Backcountry Conservative. 27 July 2003. Retrieved on 19 June 2006.
  13. ^ See, for examples, American Dictionary of National Biography on John Sherman and Carter Glass; in general, Ritchie, Congress, p. 209
  14. ^ Ritchie, Congress, p. 44. Zelizer, On Capitol Hill describes this process; one of the reforms is that seniority within the majority party can now be bypassed, so that a chairman does run the risk of being deposed by his colleagues. See in particular p. 17, for the unreformed Congress, and pp.188-9, for the Stevenson reforms of 1977.
  15. ^ Ritchie, Congress, pp .44, 175, 209
  16. ^ Wilson|Congressional Government, Chapter III: “Revenue and Supply”. Text common to all printings or “editions”; in Papers of Woodrow Wilson it is Vol.4 (1968), p.91; for unchanged text, see p. 13, ibid.
  17. ^ Recess Appointments FAQ (PDF). US Senate, Congressional Research Service. Retrieved on November 20, 2007; Ritchie, Congress p. 178.
  18. ^ For an example, and a discussion of the literature, see Laurence H. Tribe, “Taking Text and Structure Seriously: Reflections on Free-Form Method in Constitutional Interpretation”, Harvard Law Review, Vol. 108, No. 6. (Apr., 1995), pp. 1221-1303.
  19. ^ Complete list of impeachment trials. United States Senate. Retrieved on November 20, 2007
  20. ^ “Lieberman refuses to close door on switching parties”. Boston Globe, November 12, 2006. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  21. ^ The Great Senate Deadlock of 1881. United States Senate. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.
  22. ^ Weisman, Jonathan and Shailagh Murray. “Democrats Take Control on Hill: New Speaker Pelosi Shepherds Ethics Bills To Passage in House”. Washington Post, January 5, 2007, p. A01. Retrieved on 2007-11-17.

Official Senate histories

The following are published by the Senate Historical Office.

  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989″
  • Robert C. Byrd. The Senate, 1789–1989. Four volumes.
    • Vol. I, a chronological series of addresses on the history of the Senate
    • Vol. II, a topical series of addresses on various aspects of the Senate’s operation and powers
    • Vol. III, Classic Speeches, 1830–1993
    • Vol. IV, Historical Statistics, 1789–1992
  • Dole, Bob. Historical Almanac of the United States Senate
  • Hatfield, Mark O., with the Senate Historical Office. Vice Presidents of the United States, 1789–1993 (essays reprinted online)
  • Frumin, Alan S. Riddick’s Senate Procedure. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1992.

Miscellaneous

  • Barone, Michael, and Grant Ujifusa, The Almanac of American Politics 1976: The Senators, the Representatives and the Governors: Their Records and Election Results, Their States and Districts (1975); new edition every 2 years
  • Davidson, Roger H., and Walter J. Oleszek, eds. (1998). Congress and Its Members, 6th ed. Washington DC: Congressional Quarterly. (Legislative procedure, informal practices, and member information)
  • Congressional Quarterly Congress and the Nation: 2001–2004: A Review of Government and Politics: 107th and 108th Congresses (2005); massive, highly detailed summary of Congressional activity, as well as major executive and judicial decisions; based on Congressional Quarterly Weekly Report and the annual CQ almanac.
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1997–2001 (2002)
    • Congressional Quarterly. Congress and the Nation: 1993–1996 (1998)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1989–1992 (1993)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1985–1988 (1989)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1981–1984 (1985)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1977–1980 (1981)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1973–1976 (1977)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1969–1972 (1973)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1965–1968 (1969)
    • Congressional Quarterly, Congress and the Nation: 1945–1964 (1965), the first of the series
  • Baker, Richard A. The Senate of the United States: A Bicentennial History Krieger, 1988.
  • Baker, Richard A., ed., First Among Equals: Outstanding Senate Leaders of the Twentieth Century Congressional Quarterly, 1991.
  • David W. Brady and Mathew D. McCubbins. Party, Process, and Political Change in Congress: New Perspectives on the History of Congress (2002)
  • Caro, Robert A. The Years of Lyndon Johnson. Vol. 3: Master of the Senate. Knopf, 2002.
  • Comiskey, Michael. Seeking Justices: The Judging of Supreme Court Nominees U. Press of Kansas, 2004.
  • Cooper, John Milton, Jr. Breaking the Heart of the World: Woodrow Wilson and the Fight for the League of Nations. Cambridge U. Press, 2001.
  • Gould, Lewis L. The Most Exclusive Club: A History Of The Modern United States Senate (2005)
  • Hernon, Joseph Martin. Profiles in Character: Hubris and Heroism in the U.S. Senate, 1789–1990 Sharpe, 1997.
  • Hoebeke, C. H. The Road to Mass Democracy: Original Intent and the Seventeenth Amendment. Transaction Books, 1995.(popular elections of Senators)
  • Lee, Frances E. and Oppenheimer, Bruce I. Sizing Up the Senate: The Unequal Consequences of Equal Representation. U. of Chicago Press 1999. 304 pp.
  • McFarland, Ernest W. The Ernest W. McFarland Papers: The United States Senate Years, 1940–1952. Prescott, Ariz.: Sharlot Hall Museum, 1995 (Democratic majority leader 1950–52)
  • Malsberger, John W. From Obstruction to Moderation: The Transformation of Senate Conservatism, 1938–1952. Susquehanna U. Press 2000
  • Mann, Robert. The Walls of Jericho: Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Russell and the Struggle for Civil Rights. Harcourt Brace, 1996
  • Ritchie, Donald A. Press Gallery: Congress and the Washington Correspondents. Harvard University Press, 1991.
  • Ritchie, Donald A. The Congress of the United States: A Student Companion Oxford University Press, 2001 (2nd edition).
  • Ritchie, Donald A. Reporting from Washington: The History of the Washington Press Corps Oxford University Press, 2005.
  • Rothman, David. Politics and Power the United States Senate 1869–1901 (1966)
  • Swift, Elaine K. The Making of an American Senate: Reconstitutive Change in Congress, 1787–1841. U. of Michigan Press, 1996
  • Valeo, Frank. Mike Mansfield, Majority Leader: A Different Kind of Senate, 1961–1976 Sharpe, 1999 (Senate Democratic leader)
  • VanBeek, Stephen D. Post-Passage Politics: Bicameral Resolution in Congress. U. of Pittsburgh Press 1995
  • Weller, Cecil Edward, Jr. Joe T. Robinson: Always a Loyal Democrat. U. of Arkansas Press, 1998. (Arkansas Democrat who was Majority leader in 1930s)
  • Wilson, Woodrow. Congressional Government. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1885; also 15th ed. 1900, repr. by photoreprint, Transaction books, 2002.
  • Wirls, Daniel and Wirls, Stephen. The Invention of the United States Senate Johns Hopkins U. Press, 2004. (Early history)
  • Zelizer, Julian E. On Capitol Hill : The Struggle to Reform Congress and its Consequences, 1948–2000 (2006)
  • Zelizer, Julian E., ed. The American Congress: The Building of Democracy (2004) (overview)
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