The Senate is part of the bicameral system of the legislature as provided for under section 1 of the United States Constitution.
The Senate has several powers and duties delegated to it outside legislation. The duties are summed up as advisory roles.
The Senate majority leader is the party’s head, with the more significant proportion of members in the upper House.
To serve as the majority leader, you must be an elected senator of the state and belong to the party with most members in the Senate.
The Senate majority leader is often the president pro tempore. The role is not tenured, and it is possible to remove the leader at any time.
So, how is the majority leader removed?
1. Changes in the Senate member ratio
The majority leader is the party’s head with a more significant proportion of members. Should the proportion of members change so that the majority leader’s party becomes the minority, he will cease to be the majority leader.
Where the proportion changes, the leader of the minority becomes the majority leader, and vice versa is true.
2. Expulsion of the majority leader
A sitting majority leader will cease to hold office upon expulsion. Under Article I, section 5, a senator can be expelled from office if two-thirds of the Senate agrees to do so due to misconduct.
The individual will cease to be the majority leader by not holding office.
The majority leader will cease to serve in the capacity if they choose to resign. To formally resign, a sitting senator would have to put it in writing to the governor of the state that he represents.
Once the majority leader has resigned, they cease to hold office by not being a member of the Senate.
4. Replacement by conference
The senate members belonging to the majority party can, through an ordinary resolution, replace the majority leader in the Senate.
The process is simple, as it requires the majority senators to meet and decide among themselves on a new appointee to the position.
Roles And Responsibilities Of The Senate Majority Leader
The senate majority leader has designated responsibilities. Some of the duties are:
1. Defending party interests
The Senate majority leader defends the interests of his party in Congress. They ensure that the members of their respective parties stay united by mobilizing the members on roll-call votes.
2. Scheduling bills in Senate
The majority leader plans and schedules the bills to be tabled on the floor for debate. They are also responsible for keeping party members updated on upcoming issues due for debate.
3. They set limitations on debate durations.
With consultation with the minority leader, the majority leader sets the time limits on debates. They also subdivide the time allocated for each party member once they take the floor.
4. Take charge of party strategy.
The Senate majority leader is in charge of their party’s debate strategy. They offer advice to their members and devise talking points and amendments for bills and debates.
5. First recognition
The Senate of the House enjoys the right to first recognition. It is a special priority accorded to the leader to have the first word on any issue of debate on the floor of the House.
6. The president pro-tempore
Though not expressly provided in the Constitution, the majority leader assumes the role of president pro-tempore.
It is a role the majority leader assumes in the vice president’s absence. The speaker pro-tempore presides over the Senate temporarily until a vice president takes office.
A filibuster is a political tactic commonly used in Congress today. It is an intentional attempt to delay discussions regarding the formulation or amendment of bills. It is usually done by prolonging debates, making it slow to pass legislation.
Members of the Senate adopt filibusters to force a compromise regarding a particular bill. The members of the minority commonly do it in the House to frustrate the legislative effort.
The Senate’s Functions And Responsibilities
The upper House is also known as the Senate. It has a total of 100 members. Section 1 of the Constitution establishes the Senate’s existence. It is part of the legislature’s bicameral structure.
Aside from legislation, the United States Senate has unique roles and responsibilities. What are the Senate’s responsibilities? The US Senate has explicit authority over advice and consent. The following are some of the roles:
1. Treaty approval
Before the Executive signs any treaty, the Senate must approve or reject it. By certifying any international US deal, it helps to keep the Executive branch in check. The Senate must ratify a treaty before it may take effect.
Treaties are approved once the Senate passes a special resolution.
2. Approval of federal judge nominations
The Senate is in charge of approving all federal judicial nominations. Judges who work in the judicial system must undergo vetting and approval by the Senate.
The chief justice, the head of the Supreme Court, is also approved by the Senate. The Senate performs its job of keeping both the Judiciary and the Executive in check by granting such approvals.
3. Trials for impeachment
The Senate is holding presidential and other public leaders’ trials. The Senate’s motion for impeachment is sent to the House of Representatives passes it.
The Senate then holds trials and hears the evidence of the defendant. The Senate can impeach a public official if they believe there has been an abuse of office.
4. Approving ambassadorial appointments
The Senate is in charge of approving or rejecting American ambassadors to foreign countries. They check over the appointments and provide the go-ahead for them to represent the interests of the United States in foreign countries.
5. Vetting presidential nominees
The Senate must vet any person appointed to a public post. Senate authorizes the appointments if they are satisfied that the nominees are competent.
The Legislative Process
Congress, which the Senate is a part of, has been Constitutionally tasked with making laws. The legislative process is the method by which laws are created. No other branch of government has the power to create or change laws.
So, what is the procedure for passing legislation? Let’s see what happens.
Stage 1: Bill drafting
Drafting bills is the first step in the legislative process. A member of the Senate can sponsor a bill in the House of Representatives.
A member may also write a bill of the House of Representatives currently in office. Lobby groups frequently sponsor legislation in Congress.
Stage 2: Introduction of Bills to the House.
Bills are introduced in Congress based on the floor on which they were written. In the lower House, bills authored by members of the House are introduced. Senators’ bills will be introduced in the Senate.
Stage 3: Initial hearing in front of the committee
There are specific groupings known as congressional committees in Congress. These committees are organized into subcommittees based on their specific areas of interest. The committees make changes to the bills where they deem it necessary.
Stage 4: Review Stage
Experts evaluate the law throughout the review stage and make any required adjustments. The bill will be sent back to the congressional committee once the review is completed.
Stage 5: Voting by the committee
After a review, the congressional committee votes to see if members will bring the bill to the House floor. The bill is brought to the floor when the congressional committee members have passed a simple resolution.
Stage 6: Voting
Members of the House in which the bill was introduced vote on whether or not the legislation should pass it.
During this stage, other members of the House may propose amendments. The House will pass the law if a special resolution is passed on the floor of the relevant chamber.
Stage 7: The second round of voting
The bill is referred to the other chamber once it has passed one chamber. The bill must go through the complete legislative process, from introduction to voting. If both houses pass a special resolution, the law is ready for assent.
Stage 8: Approval by the President
The bill is signed into law by the president. The president may also choose not to sign the bill, but it becomes federal law once ten days have passed.
Senate can oust a majority leader as the position is not tenured. The leader has some responsibilities and roles to fulfill in their capacity. The party members with the majority in the Senate can nominate and depose individuals who serve in the capacity.
If the proportion of the members in the House were to change, then the majority leader would cease to hold the position. If this were to happen, the majority leader would become the minority leader. The minority leader would subsequently be the leader of the majority.