20 Facts About United States Senate

1. The United States Senate adopted a standing committee system in December 1816 when it created eleven standing committees.

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2. The United States Senate met behind closed doors until 1794, only opening them after much agitation by both states and senators—mostly southern.

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3. The United States Senate reached 100 members after the admission of Hawaii as a state in 1959.

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4. The United States Senate has a rule passed in 1917 called a cloture rule, which limits debate to thirty hours before a final vote is taken on a bill.

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5. The United States Senate allows each of its members more freedom to debate bills, and it allows the minority party to make more decisions than in the House.

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6. When the United States Senate moved to its new quarters in 1859 and the Supreme Court took over use of the room, the shield was placed over one of the outside doors, while the eagle was placed elsewhere in the room.

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7. On March 31, 1885, the United States Senate ordered an updating of its own seal.

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8. The US United States Senate is composed of 100 Senators, two from each of the 50 states.

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9. The United States Senate is both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives, due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere.

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10. The United States Senate has only broken a deadlock once; in 1837, it elected Richard Mentor Johnson.

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11. Under the Twelfth Amendment, the United States Senate has the power to elect the vice president if no vice presidential candidate receives a majority of votes in the Electoral College.

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12. Historically, the United States Senate has disputed the interpretation advocated by the House.

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13. The United States Senate rules and customs were reformed in the twentieth century, largely in the 1970s.

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14. In this respect, the United States Senate differs from the House of Commons of the United Kingdom and other parliamentary bodies in the Commonwealth of Nations and elsewhere.

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15. At one end of the chamber of the United States Senate is a dais from which the presiding officer presides.

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16. The United States Senate has censured and condemned senators; censure requires only a simple majority and does not remove a senator from office.

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17. The United States Senate was thus not designed to serve the people of the United States equally.

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18. The United States Senate is widely considered both a more deliberative and more prestigious body than the House of Representatives due to its longer terms, smaller size, and statewide constituencies, which historically led to a more collegial and less partisan atmosphere.

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19. As the upper house, the United States Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it; these include the approval of treaties and the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, other federal executive officials, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers.

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20. The United States Senate is composed of senators, each of whom represents a single state in its entirety, with each state being equally represented by two senators, regardless of its population, serving staggered terms of six years; with 50 states currently in the Union, there are 100 US Senators.

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