Presiding Officer of the United States Senate

Presiding Officer Of The United States Senate

Presiding Officer of the United States Senate

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The Presiding Officer is the person who presides over the United States Senate and is charged with maintaining order and decorum, recognizing members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices and precedents. The Presiding Officer is a role, not an actual office; whoever is presiding at the time is the Presiding Officer.

Who acts as Presiding Officer

The presiding officer may be the President of the Senate, who under Article One of the United States Constitution is the Vice President of the United States and may vote when the Senate is "equally divided" - that is, when a tie occurs. While some early Vice Presidents regularly presided over the Senate, in modern times the Vice President has only actively presided over the chamber when it is anticipated that he may be able to use his casting vote to break a tie, or on ceremonial occasions, such as the counting of electoral votes following a presidential election.

The President pro tempore (a Senator elected to the post by the Senate at the beginning of each Congress, which since World War II by custom has been the most senior Senator of the majority party) is nominally responsible for presiding over the Senate "in the Absence of the Vice President, or when he shall exercise the Office of the President of the United States" (Article I, Section 3, Clause 5). More typically, junior senators of the majority party designated by the President pro tempore preside over the chamber.

An exception to this...
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