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US Government

The Senate

Part of the Congress

The Senate is one of the chambers of Congress that comprises the Legislative Branch of the United States government. The other chamber is the House of Representatives. Having two chambers of Congress is called a "bicameral" legislature. The Senate is sometimes called the "upper" house of the Congress.

US Senate Floor
U.S. Senate, 111th Congress
from the Senate Photo Studio
How many Senators are there?

There are exactly 100 Senators in the Senate. Each state elects two Senators to represent their state. It doesn't matter how big or small the state is.

How long can someone be a Senator?

Each Senator is elected for a term of six years, but there no limits as to how many terms a person can be a Senator. This means a person can be a Senator for as long as they keep getting elected.

Who can become a Senator?

The requirements for being a Senator are described in Article I of the Constitution:

1) must be at least 30 years old
2) must have been a citizen of the U.S. for the last 9 years
3) must be a resident of the state that they represent

Where does the Senate meet?

The Senate meets in the Senate Chamber in the north wing of the U.S. Capitol Building. Each Senator has an individual desk. The desks are arranged in a large semicircle with the leaders sitting in the center of the circle. There is a visitor's gallery that overlooks the chamber.

Senate Leadership Debates and Filibusters

When a bill is up for a vote, the Senate will debate the pros and cons of the bill. When a Senator speaks they talk to the presiding officer. They are not allowed to use the names of other Senators, but refer to them by their position such as "the distinguished Senator from Georgia."

There is no restrictions on how long a debate can last in the Senate. As a result, sometimes Senators will try to delay the vote on a bill by giving a really long speech. This is called a filibuster. A filibuster can be stopped if three-fifths of the Senators vote to end it. This is called cloture.

Special Senate Powers

The main job of the Senate is to vote on new laws along with the House of Representatives. However, the Senate has some unique powers that the House does not have:
Interesting Facts about the Senate Activities To learn more about the United States government:

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Works Cited

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