The Senate forms part of the bicameral legislative body. It is the upper House, whereas the House of Representatives is the lower House.
Both senators and members of the housework in Congress. Congress is located in Washington D.C.
Each state is required to have two representatives in the Upper House. These representatives are elected once every six years. They form part of the legislative team in the House but also have other duties unique to the role.
Where there are 100 members in the United States Congress, senators have tenured roles and cannot lose office due to impeachment.
Senators can only be expelled via a special resolution by other senators. Congress is located in Washington D.C., but
where do senators live?
Senators are required to have a residence in their home states. Since they work in Washington D.C., they usually have a residence in the state, from where they can tend to their senatorial duties. Most senators maintain a residence in D.C. for the sake of convenience.
What Are The Legal And Constitutional Requirements To Work As A Senator?
The United States Senate is key to the legislative branch of government. The Constitution enshrines the existence of the Senate in Section 1.
You must meet multiple legal and constitutional requirements to serve in the U.S. Senate.
The requirements are:
1. Age qualification
To become a Senator in the United States of America, you must be at least 35 years old. It is a constitutional requirement as outlined by the framers in 1778.
The minimum age requirement for service in the House of Representatives, on the other hand, is 25 years.
2. Citizenship qualification
To serve as a Senator, you must be a citizen of the United States. The Constitution does not mandate that citizenship must be by birth.
The requirements for senators and the presidency differ in this way. The other way of attaining citizenship is through naturalization.
To serve in the Senate, you must have been a citizen for at least nine years before the time you run for office.
3. Residency requirements
Anyone wishing to run for office as a senator must fulfill the residency qualification. It provides that you are legally required to have a permanent residence in the state at the election time.
You must also be an active inhabitant of the state where you run for office.
4. Taking Oath of Office
Taking an oath of office is not expressly mandated by the Constitution but is implied as a requirement.
The wording of the Constitution ensures that senators take an oath of office to support the Constitution of the United States unequivocally.
Taking an oath of office has since been ratified by members who have served in the upper House since 1862.
5. Taking up or being a holder of another federal office
Members of the Senate are legally required to have resigned from other federal offices by running for office.
It is done to ensure that there is no conflict of interest and that they are only committed to service in their roles as senators.
The Senate can come under undue external influence by holding other federal officials. It is, therefore, imperative to ensure that there is sufficient separation of powers between branches of government.
6. Impeachment limitations
You cannot legally run for a senatorial office if you have been impeached from a federal office in the past.
It will lead to automatic disqualification from elections. Note that senators have secure tenures. Senators cannot lose office through impeachment.
Senators can, however, lose office as a result of expulsion. It happens if other senators agree that a member has violated the terms of office and vote to expel them through a special resolution.
What Do Senators Do?
There are several duties that senators are to fulfill, as highlighted by the Constitution. Some of the duties are unique to the role, whereas others are encompassed under the role of Congress.
Senate, which happens to be part of the United States Congress, fulfill the following duties:
Senators are responsible for coming up with federal laws in a process known as the legislative process. Members of the upper House can also change existing laws through constitutional amendments.
Congress is the highest law-making authority in the land. Note that federal laws take precedence over state laws. It is the supremacy of Congress.
The legislative process requires that the laws are passed by a special resolution in both houses of the bicameral legislature.
It means that the Senate can not make laws without the approval of the House of Representatives. It ensures that there is a balance in power.
2. The ratification of treaties
The United States can enter into treaties with any other foreign power. However, the treaty must be approved by the upper House of Congress. Congress can reject any treaty proposal on behalf of the United States.
For a treaty to be authentic, it must have been approved through a special resolution in the Senate.
3. Impeachment power
The Senate is responsible for keeping both the Judiciary and executive branches in check. It is the reason why the Constitution has given the body impeachment power.
Impeachment trials for the president of the United States and federal judges are held in the upper House.
Members of the House deliberate on the member’s innocence on trial after hearing evidence and the defense of the accused.
The accused will lose office if Senate finds them guilty by special resolution.
4. Validating the appointment of federal judges
The Constitution of the United States has given the Senate the power to approve or reject the appointment of federal judges. They grill the nominees in a special sitting and determine the extent of their competence.
It is one of the ways in which the Senate keeps the Judiciary in check. The Senate also validates the appointment of the Chief Justice. The chief justice heads the judicial branch of the government.
5. Validating the appointment of ambassadors to foreign countries
Aside from validating the appointment of federal judges, the Senate is responsible for approving ambassadorial appointments.
Once the president comes up with nominees, they attend sessions at the Senate, where they are grilled.
If they are competent enough, their appointments are approved. The appointments can also be rejected if the Senate finds the appointees incapable of fulfilling their duties.
6. Validating other presidential appointments
Any other presidential appointees have to be validated in the Senate. It includes appointments to head state organs and appointments into federal offices. The Senate can choose to approve or reject any presidential nominees and appointments.
The House Of Representatives/Lower-House
The House of Representatives, also known as the lower House, is part of the bicameral legislature in the United States.
It consists of 435 elected members. The members who serve in the House of Representatives are elected by their congressional districts.
How are the seats apportioned? The seats are apportioned based on the size of the population of each district.
It means that districts with high populations get more representation in the House. Each congressional district must have at least one member.
The members of the House of Representatives are elected once every two years. They can run for elections as many times as they desire, but the term limit is capped at two years.
Members of the Lower House may decide to live in Washington D.C. for the duration of their service. Like the senators, they also work in Congress to make and amend existing laws.
Where Do Governors Live In The United States?
Unlike Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, Governors do not work in Congress. It means that they never have to visit Washington D.C. to work.
Governors live in the states in which they serve. They live in official residences designated for them.
They serve as the political leaders in their states.
Some of their roles are:
- Budgeting: With the assistance of a committee, the governor comes up with the state budget and expenditure limits.
- Appointment power: The governor appoints state offices like judges.
- Commander of the national guard: Governors are the official heads of the national guard in their respective states
- Party leaders: Governors serve as the official party leaders in their states.
- Implementation role: The governor implements state legislation and ensures that laws are adhered to.
Senators are required to maintain a residence in their home states. Most senators, however, reside in and around Washington D.C., where Congress is located. In other cases, some senators commute to work daily. It was the case with Joe Biden, who used to take a train from Delaware.
Senators do not have a housing allowance as a prerequisite. Residence in Washington D.C. can be quite costly, so some senators decide to live in the northern part of the neighboring state of Virginia.