Overview[edit | edit source]
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. The Senate has several exclusive powers enumerated in Article I of the U.S. 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 U.S. Supreme Court), governors of the Federal Reserve and members of the Cabinet — without the advice and consent of the Senate.
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