United States Government


The Senate


The Senate


The U.S. Senate is the upper house of Congress. Unlike the House of Representatives, the Senate consists of two senators for each state, regardless of that state's population. This ensures equal representation for each state. Hence, there are 100 Senators.

Senators serve six-year terms, however, senate elections are held every two years to ensure that no state ever holds an election in which both Senate seats are in contention. Elections are held on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November in even-numbered years. Senators must be thirty years of age, a citizen of the United States for the prior nine years, and must live in the state they seek to represent. Much of the work done in the Senate is performed in committees. 16 standing committees, each with a specific jurisdiction (such as foreign relations, judicial review, or finance) edit, amend, and consider bills related to those jurisdictions.

Powers exclusive to the Senate include the approval of treaties as a condition to their ratification, and the approval of federal judges and cabinet members as a condition of their appointment. The Senate also tries impeachments.