The Senate of the United States is the upper house of the United States Congress, which also comprises the House of Representatives. Its name derives from its original role as an elected body of representatives from the states. It has been the majority party in every session since 1912 when the term limit was taken away from it.
Today, each State is represented by two Senators, with most having their state’s dual representation in both houses. The Republicans have a majority in both chambers of Congress as well as a majority in 20 states, while the Democrats control a majority in only 4 states and no state has an absolute majority in either chamber.
The Senate has served as a check on abuses of executive power by presidents Woodrow Wilson and Franklin D Roosevelt. During Watergate and impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton, Senate Republicans played an active role to oppose him.
The Democratic Party controls more seats than any other party and is often referred to as the “party of government” due to its legacy of promoting policies that curb individual liberty and expand central authority over citizens and businesses. The Republicans are considered to be a “party for smaller government” for advocating limited or less stringent government regulations on businesses and individuals alike.
History of the Senate in the United States
The history of the Senate in the United States dates back to the First Congress, which met in 1789. From then until 1912, the Senate was a part-time body, with Senators having to serve for a term of six years to be eligible for re-election. In this period, Senate elections were frequent, with 12 seats being contested in the 1st Congress.
However, by the late 19th century, the number of seats being contested became rare, with only two seats being contested in the 23rd Congress, and no seats being contested in either the 42nd or the 43rd Congresses. In 1912, the Senate was converted into a full-time body, with members now being elected to a six-year term, but with the option to run for re-election after three terms.
Background of the US Senate
The US Senate was established as an elected body by the United States Constitution as one of the two chambers of the first, newly formed Congress. Article I, Section 3, Clause 2, of the Constitution states that the Senate is “the upper house” and that the House of Representatives is “the lower house”.
The Constitution does not indicate who is meant to represent the states in this upper house, but it does specify that each state is to be represented in the House by two members. Additionally, the Senate is empowered to approve treaties that are passed by a two-thirds vote.
The first election to the Senate under the Constitution took place in 1789, with George Washington being elected as the first President. From then on, the Senate has been composed of two Senators from each of the states. The original purpose of the Senate was as an elected body of representatives from individual
Each state was represented by two Senators, with each Senator having to be at least 30 years old and be a resident of the state he represented. The majority of the states were also required to vote for a Senator to qualify him to be the state’s representative in the Senate.
Qualifications for Senators
Under the US Constitution, Senators must be at least 30 years old and a citizen of the United States for at least nine years. The Constitution does not specify what states a person must be a resident of to be eligible for the Senate, but a person must be a resident of the state for at least one year to file for federal office. Additionally, a person must be a resident of the state for at least one year to vote in local elections.
Organization of the US Senate
Each of the 100 Senators is elected to a six-year term, with two Senators from each state being elected at the same time as the President of the United States every four years. Since the Senate is not directly elected, it is harder for a third party to gain control than in the House of Representatives.
Under the Constitution, the president does not have to consult with the Senate before issuing any executive orders that are passed by Congress. The Senate is still a powerful body, being empowered to approve treaties that are signed by the president. Additionally, it can propose amendments to the Constitution, and can also vote to impeach federal government officials.
Role of the Senate
The Senate plays a major role in the legislative process in the United States. The Senate has the power to approve or reject presidential appointments, including the appointment of Supreme Court Justices. The Senate also approves the annual budget proposed by the president and can approve or reject amendments proposed by the House of Representatives.
The Senate is also known for conducting investigations. In recent years, the Senate has been particularly active in investigating the events that led to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. It also conducts investigations into misconduct by government officials, such as the Committee to Investigate Russia.
Powers and responsibilities of Senators
As a part of the legislative branch of the US government, the Senate enjoys the power to pass laws, approve treaties, approve the federal budget, and approve or reject federal appointments. In addition to these powers, the Senate can also advise the president on foreign policy and conduct investigations.
The Senate can also serve as a check on the powers of the president, as it can reject presidential appointments or pass legislation that curbs the actions of the president, such as the Impeach Trump Act. The Senate can also serve as a forum for debate on the legislation, with each Senator having an opportunity to offer amendments to a bill before it is voted upon. The Senate was also one of the first branches of the US government to conduct investigations into events that led to the financial crisis of 2007-2008.
Committee system in the US Senate
The US Senate has a committee system that enables it to monitor the activities of the executive branch and seek legislative solutions to problems. The Senate has three types of committees: the Committee on Foreign Relations, the Committee on Finance, and the Committee on Appropriations.
Each committee is led by a chairman who is an elected member of the Senate. These chairmen are responsible for managing the committee’s agenda and overseeing the work of their respective committees. Each committee has several subcommittees that are tasked with conducting investigations, such as the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, the Committee to Investigate Russia and the Select Committee on Intelligence.
Why are elections to the US Senate important?
The Senate is one of the two chambers of the US Congress that can amend or reject the proposed laws passed by the House of Representatives. Additionally, the Senate can approve or reject presidential appointments to the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary, as well as enact treaties.
With the 2018 elections for the Senate being held on November 6, 2018, the public should pay attention to the Senate races because of their impact on the future of the country.
The future of the Senate is especially important because of the possibility of the Supreme Court being ruled by 5 justices who have been appointed by a president who could be impeached, and the possibility of a constitutional amendment to overturn the recent decision to allow individuals to buy insurance with tax subsidies through federal healthcare programs.