WikiNow lets you discover the news you care about, follow the topics that matter to you and share your favourite stories with your friends.

© WikiNow

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the House of Representatives, composes the legislature of the United States.

114th United States Congress
Coat of arms or logo
Seal of the U.S. Senate
Flag of the United States Senate
Flag of the U.S. Senate
Term limits
New session started
January 6, 2015 (2015-01-06)
President of the United States Senate
Joe Biden (D)
Since January 20, 2009
President pro tempore
Orrin Hatch (R)
Since January 3, 2015
Majority Leader
Mitch McConnell (R)
Since January 3, 2015
Minority Leader
Harry Reid (D)
Since January 3, 2015
Majority Whip
John Cornyn (R)
Since January 3, 2015
Minority Whip
Dick Durbin (D)
Since January 3, 2015
Seats 100
114th United States Senate.svg
Political groups
Majority (54)
Minority (46)
Length of term
6 years
Last election
November 8, 2016
Next election
November 6, 2018
Meeting place
111th US Senate class photo.jpg
Senate chamber
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C., United States

The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress which, along with the House of Representatives, composes the legislature of the United States.

The composition and powers of the Senate are established by Article One of the United States Constitution. The Senate is composed of senators who represent each of the several states, with each state being equally represented by two senators, regardless of their population, serving staggered terms of six years; with fifty states presently in the Union, there are 100 U.S. Senators. From 1789 until 1913, Senators were appointed by the legislatures of the states they represented; following the ratification of the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, they are now popularly elected. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol, in Washington, D.C..

As the upper house, the Senate has several powers of advice and consent which are unique to it; of these include the ratification of treaties, the confirmation of Cabinet secretaries, Supreme Court justices, federal judges, other federal executive officials, flag officers, regulatory officials, ambassadors, and other federal uniformed officers. In addition to these, in cases wherein no candidate receives a majority of electors for Vice President, the duty befalls upon the Senate to elect one of the top two recipients of electors for that office. It further has the responsibility of conducting trials of those impeached by the House. The 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.

The presiding officer of the Senate is the Vice President of the United States, who is President of the Senate; in his absence, the President Pro Tempore, who is customarily the senior member of the controlling party, presides over the Senate. In the early 20th Century, the practice of majority and minority parties electing their floor leaders began, although they are not constitutional officers.

Tension on Senate floor amid health care fight

CNN's Brooke Baldwin analyzes moments on the Senate floor amid tension from the proposed Graham-Cassidy health care bill.

Shocker! A real Senate debate

Longtime senators John McCain and Dick Durbin duel it out old school on the Senate floor regarding the debt ceiling.

Congressional Elections: Crash Course Government and Politics #6

This week Craig Benzine talks about the importance of elections. But he isn't going to focus on presidential elections, but instead those of the strongest part of ...

U.S. Senate (C-SPAN)

The Senate continued work on the Keystone XL Pipeline bill on Thursday, voting on 10 amendments. After finishing the votes on those amendments in the ...

LIVE: United States Senator swearing-in ceremony

Subscribe to our channel! The ceremonial swearing-in of newly-elected and re-elected senators takes place in Washington DC on Thursday, ...

Mark Zuckerberg testifies on Capitol Hill (full Senate hearing)

Live coverage and analysis of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg's testimony before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees.