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The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, with the House of Representatives being the lower chamber. Together they compose the national bicameral legislature of the United States.
United States Senate
|118th United States Congress|
New session started
|January 3, 2023 (2023-01-03)|
Length of term
|Plurality voting in 46 states|
|November 8, 2022 (35 seats)|
|November 5, 2024 (34 seats)|
United States Capitol
|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. 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 and prestigious 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.
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.