President of the Senate / President Pro Tempore
photo credit: gualtiero
President of the Senate: Under the Constitution (Article I, Section 3), the Vice President of the United States presides over the Senate and is allowed to cast a vote in the event of a tie. Although the Constitution names the Vice President the “President of the Senate,” in reality, he rarely presides. The Vice President is most likely to preside over the Senate when a tie vote may occur because the Constitution empowers the Vice President to vote in case of a tie. In the absence of the Vice President, the president pro tempore, or a senator designated by the president pro tempore, presides over the Senate only during very close votes, ceremonial occasions and crucial procedural questions.
Senator Hatch Sworn in as Senate pro tempore
President Pro Tempore: Under Article I, Section 3 of the Constitution, the chief officer of the Senate in the absence of the vice president. It means literally, but loosely, “the president for a time.” The president “pro tem” is an officer elected by fellow senators to act as the Senate’s presiding officer during the absence of the Vice President of the United States. The most senior Senator of the majority party usually is elected the president pro tempore. In practice, however, various senators of the majority party preside over Senate floor proceedings during the course of a day’s meeting.
- in Congressional Procedure
- Vice President of the United States (President of the Senate) – U.S. Senate
- President Pro Tempore – U.S. Senate
- Congressional Leadership
- Presiding Officer
- A Note About Usage: ‘Congress’
- Speaker (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- Majority Leader (CongressionalGlossary.com)
- “Presiding Officer,” CRS Report RS21553 (5-page PDF)
- “The President Pro Tempore of the Senate,” CRS Report RL30960 (34-page PDF)
- “The President-Elect: Succession and Disability Issues During the Transition Period,” CRS Report RS22992 (8-page PDF)
- “Presidential Succession,” CRS Report RL31761 (30-page PDF)
- “Office of Legislative Counsel,” CRS Report RS20856 (4-page PDF)
- “Senate Administrative Officers and Officials,” CRS Report 98-418 (4-page PDF)
- “Office of Senate Legal Counsel,” CRS Report RS22891 (4-page PDF)
- “Major Leadership Election Contests in the Senate, 94th-111th Congresses,” CRS Report RL30704 (19-page PDF)
- Congressional Operations Briefing – Capitol Hill Workshop
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- Drafting Effective Federal Legislation and Amendments in a Nutshell, Audio Course on CD
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Legislative Drafter’s Deskbook: A Practical Guide
Citizen’s Handbook to Influencing Elected Officials: A Guide for Citizen Lobbyists and Grassroots Advocates
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