Seniority in the United States Senate

Seniority In The United States Senate

Seniority in the United States Senate

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Seniority in the United States Senate is based upon a series of ranked factors, only resorting to the next factor when tied. Customarily, seniority confers a number of perquisites. Additionally, the terms senior senator and junior senator are used to describe the two senators representing any particular state.

Benefits of seniority

There is no mandated difference in rights or power, although Senate rules give more power to senators with more seniority. Generally, senior senators will have more power, though being a member of the majority party is more advantageous than being senior. In addition, by custom the senior senators from the president's party control federal patronage appointments in their states. Thus being the junior senator is disadvantageous if the senior one is from the same party.

Some of the perquisites of seniority offered by the U.S. Senate:
  • Senators are given preferential treatment in choosing committee assignments based on seniority. Seniority on a committee is based on length of time serving on that committee, which means a senator may rank above another in committee seniority but be more junior in the full Senate. Although the committee chairmanship is an elected position, it is traditionally given to the most senior senator of the majority party serving on the committee. The ranking member (called vice-chairman in some select committees) of a committee is elected in the same way.
  • Greater seniority enables a senator to choose a desk closer to the......
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