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United States Senate

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The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral United States Congress, the lower house being the House of Representatives. The composition and powers of the Senate and the House are established in Article One of the Constitution. Each U.S state is represented by two senators, regardless of population. This ensures equal representation of each state in the Senate. U.S. Senators serve staggered six-year terms. The chamber of the United States Senate is located in the north wing of the Capitol building, in Washington, D.C..

The Senate has several exclusive powers not granted to the House, including consenting to treaties as a precondition to their ratification and consenting or confirmation of appointments of Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, other federal executive officials, military officers, the impeachment trials of federal officers, and other federal uniformed officers. The Senate is a more deliberative body than the House of Representatives because 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 is considered a more prestigious body than the House of Representatives, due to its longer terms, smaller membership and larger constituencies.

Current members

Click show for a table of all current members of the U.S. Senate.


In order to be a member of the U.S. Senate, a representative must meet the following requirements:[1]

  • At least 30 years old
  • A U.S. citizen for at least nine years
  • A resident of the state he or she represents

Additionally, all 50 states maintain requirements related to running for election. These filing requirements vary, and can include:

  • A filing fee
  • A petition with a minimum number of valid signatures


Members of the U.S. Senate receive $174,000 per year. This figure was most recently adjusted in January 2009, when it was increased from $169,300. Additionally, several positions receive salaries above the baseline level.[2]

  • House Majority and Minority leader: $193,400[2]

Some historical facts about the salary of U.S. Senate members:

  • In 1789, members of the Senate received $6 per diem[2]
  • In 1874, members of the Senate earned $5,000 per year[2]
  • In 1990, members of the Senate earned $98,400 per year[2]
  • From 2000-2006, the salary of a member of the U.S. Senate increased every year, going from $141,300-$165,200 in that time span.[2]


Every two years there are 33 members of the Senate up for election.


See also: U.S. Senate elections, 2012

Elections to the U.S. Senate will be held on November 6, 2012. Of the 33 seats up for election, 23 are held by Democrats and 10 by Republicans.

U.S. Senate Partisan Breakdown
Party As of November 2012 After the 2012 Election
     Democratic Party 51 53
     Republican Party 47 45
     Independent 2 2
Total 100 100


There are a total of 20 committees in the U.S. Senate. They are:

External links

See also: United States Senate on Sunshine Review