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United States Senate

Upper house of the United States Congress / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress. Together, the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives (the lower chamber of Congress) comprise the federal bicameral legislature of the United States. The Senate plays a role in the passage of federal legislation; it also confirms presidential appointments and provides a vital check and balance on the powers of the executive and judicial branches of government.

Quick facts: United States Senate, Type, Type, Term limits...
United States Senate
118th United States Congress
Coat of arms or logo
Flag of the United States Senate
Flag of the U.S. Senate
Term limits
New session started
January 3, 2023 (2023-01-03)
Patty Murray (D)
since January 3, 2023
Chuck Schumer (D)
since January 20, 2021
Mitch McConnell (R)
since January 20, 2021
Dick Durbin (D)
since January 20, 2021
John Thune (R)
since January 20, 2021
Political groups
Majority (51)
  •   Democratic (48)
  •   Independent (3)[lower-alpha 1]

Minority (49)

Length of term
6 years
Plurality voting in 46 states[lower-alpha 2]
Last election
November 8, 2022 (35 seats)
Next election
November 5, 2024 (34 seats)
Meeting place
Senate Chamber
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
United States
United States Constitution
Standing Rules of the United States Senate

The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution.[5] Each of the 50 states is represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of six years, for a total of 100 senators. From 1789 to 1913, each senator was appointed by the state legislature of the state they represented. Since 1913, each senator is elected by a statewide popular vote, as required by the Seventeenth Amendment.

As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent. These include the approval of treaties, and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges (including justices of the Supreme Court), flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, other federal executive officials and federal uniformed officers. If no candidate receives a majority of electors for vice president, the duty falls to the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. The Senate conducts trials of those impeached by the House. The Senate has typically been considered both a more deliberative[6] and prestigious[7][8][9] body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere.[10]

The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. The vice president of the United States serves as presiding officer and president of the Senate by virtue of that office, despite not being a senator, and has a vote only if the Senate is equally divided. In the vice president's absence, the president pro tempore, who is traditionally the senior member of the party holding a majority of seats, presides over the Senate. In the early 1920s, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began. The Senate's legislative and executive business is managed and scheduled by the Senate majority leader.

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