United States Senate
United States Senate
|117th United States Congress|
Flag of the U.S. Senate
Upper houseof the United States Congress
New session started
|January 24, 2021|
Majority leader of the United States Senate
Minority Leader of the United States Senate
6 (or 5 plus the Vice President) for a majority
Length of term
|January 22, 2021 (5 seats)|
United States Capitol
Washington , D.C.
United States of America
|United States Constitution|
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—constitutes the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety. Each state is equally represented by two senators who serve staggered terms of elections. There are currently 10 senators representing the 5 states. From 1789 to 1913, senators were appointed by legislatures of the states they represented. They are now elected by popular vote following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913.
As the upper chamber of Congress, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it. These include the approval of treaties, and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, 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 is widely considered both a more deliberative and more 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 president and presiding officer is the vice president of the United States. 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 20th century, 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.