The American Senate US Constitution Notes & Study Material

Tue, 08/06/2013 - 01:42 -- Umar Farooq

Composition of US Senate

The US federal legislature, Congress is bicameral. It consists of House of Representative and The Senate. The Senate, which, is the upper or second chamber, was created to safeguard the interests of small states and to check the radical tendencies of the lower chamber, the House of Representatives.

The total strength of Senate is 100. Two members come from each state, irrespective of its size and population. Nevada with a population 110,000 has two senators and so has New York with a population of 1350,0000. The constitution of USA provides that no state shall he deprived of its equal representation in the Senate without its consent. Originally the senators were indirectly elected by the state legislatures. But according to the 17th Amendment (1913) they are now directly elected by the people.

Qualifications of Senate Members

(1) The US citizens with not less than 30 years of age can contest Senate election. (ii) They must have been residents of USA for 9 years at least and (iii) they must be residents of the states from which they want to contest election. Besides, they must not hold any office of profit under the Government of USA. They must not be of unsound mind.

Senate Life

The senators are elected for a term of 6 years. One third retiring every after 2 years. The retiring senators are eligible for re-election. Rather every good senator is elected over again. There are numerous examples of senators remaining members of the Senate for over 18 years. The Senate is continuous body. It never dies.

Presiding Officer of Senate

The US Vice-President is its presiding officer. The Senate also elects from among its own members a Presidential Pro-Tempore who presides over its meeting in the absence of Vice-President. If the Vice-President becomes US-President, then President Pro-Tempore presides over its meetings permanently.