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Presiding Officer of the United States Senate

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Presiding Officer of the United States Senate 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. Senate presiding officer is a role, not an actual office. The actual role is usually performed by one of three officials: the Vice President; an elected United States Senator; or, in special cases, the Chief Justice. Outside the constitutionally mandated roles, the actual appointment of a person to do the job of presiding over the Senate as a body is governed by Rule I of the Standing Rules.

The Vice President is assigned the responsibility by the Constitution of presiding over the Senate and designated as its president. The vice president has the authority (ex officio, for they are not an elected member of the Senate) to cast a tie-breaking vote. Early vice presidents took an active role in regularly presiding over proceedings of the body, with the president pro tempore only being called on during the vice president's absence. During the 20th century, the role of the vice president evolved into more of an executive branch position. Now, the vice president is usually seen as an integral part of a president's administration and presides over the Senate only on ceremonial occasions or when a tie-breaking vote may be needed.[1]

The Constitution also provides for the appointment of one of the elected senators to serve as President pro tempore. This senator presides when the vice president is absent from the body. The president pro tempore is selected by the body specifically for the role of presiding in the absence of (as the meaning of pro tempore, literally "for the time being") the actual presiding officer. By tradition, the title of President pro tempore has come to be given more-or-less automatically to the most senior senator of the majority party. In actual practice in the modern Senate, the president pro tempore also does not often serve in the role (though it is their constitutional right to do so). Instead, as governed by Rule I, they frequently designate a junior senator to perform the function.

When the Senate hears an impeachment trial of the President of the United States, by the procedure established in the Constitution, the Chief Justice is designated as the presiding officer.

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  • ✪ How to be a Presiding Officer for Congressional Debate a High School Club Event (Speech and Debate)
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Hello Everyone and this is Debating for America's Youth And today we will be talking to YOU about how to be a Presiding Officer for Congressional Debate So I was Looking around on YouTube for some videos on how to be a Presiding Officer in Congressional Debate And I found exactly 1 video that had 4 thousand views, so clearly you need to know about being a Presiding Officer so that is why I made this video. I have been a Presiding Officer and I have seen I have seen a bunch and bunch of people be Presiding Officers and I know the rules and the regulations and I am here to explain those to you First of all, what is a Presiding Officer? A Presiding Officer is a student from the chamber or competition who runs the room, they are responsible for keeping the debate even Taking motions, taking a vote And pretty much keeping the debate running smoothly. There is a Parliamentarian there which is usually a college student who knows about Congressional Debate but it is the student's job to vote in someone to run it so the college student does not have to. So the Palimentarian is there but the Presiding Officer is the one who has the gavel and runs the debate. So how do you become a Presiding Officer? You become a Presiding Officer by someone nominating you Through the voting process So you have to have someone else say "I nominate blah blah blah" and then After everyone is nominated, they give a short little speech and then everyone votes on a piece of paper on who they think will be the best Presiding Officer And then that person is the new Presiding Officer. So that is how you get elected. What do they do? Well 1 their Job is to keep Precedence and Recency Precedence is speaking for like giving a speech on a bill. You have it like this: If you have not spoken at all (After the first round). For the first round it is whoever stands up first you call on. But for Second round of bills. It is #1 if you have not spoken at all. #2 If you have spoken first You automatically get precedence. And then going down from there. If you spoke second if the person who did not stand up who spoke first last time do Then you go (have precedence) For who spoke most recently (Last) or Whoever did not speak at all Then for questioning it is whoever has most question (most questions doesnt get to speak) So if someone has one question and another person has three questions The one question speaker gets the question. So that is pretty much how questioning and how speeches go and there is also you have to keep the debat even So for debate you have to make sure if one side of debate you say "the chair highly on a one sided debate" but you still let it pass and you can also entertain motions so someone. Someone will raise their plaque and you will say "Yes state that motion" and they will say "Motion to do whatever" And you say "all in favor say I" and "All against say nay" And if it is too close to call it You have everyone stand up and do a standing vote. That is pretty much the basics of being a Presiding Officer I have a blog post that will be in the description down below. And if you are still confused comment below or send me a message and I will definitely get back to you on being a Presiding Officer or anything in Congressional Debate I also have a past blog post that explains Congressional Debate Go check that out! There is going to be a video coming out explains the basics of Congressional Debate. Thank you for watching like and subscribe


Constitutional authority

The Constitution provides for two officers to preside over the Senate. Article One, Section 3, Clause 4 designates the Vice President of the United States as the President of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president was expected to preside at regular sessions of the Senate, casting votes only to break ties. From John Adams in 1789 to Richard Nixon in the 1950s, presiding over the Senate was the chief function of vice presidents, who had an office in the Capitol, received their staff support and office expenses through the legislative appropriations, and rarely were invited to participate in cabinet meetings or other executive activities. In 1961, Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson changed the vice presidency by moving his chief office from the Capitol to the White House, by directing his attention to executive functions, and by attending Senate sessions only at critical times when his vote, or ruling from the chair, might be necessary. Vice presidents since Johnson's time have followed his example.[2]

Next, Article One, Section 3, Clause 5 provides that in the absence of the vice president the Senate could choose a president pro tempore to temporarily preside and perform the duties of the chair. Since vice presidents presided routinely in the 18th and 19th centuries, the Senate thought it necessary to choose a president pro tempore only for the limited periods when the vice president might be ill or otherwise absent. As a result, the Senate frequently elected several presidents pro tempore during a single session.[2]

On three occasions during the 19th century, the Senate was without both a president and a president pro tempore:

Additionally, Article One, Section 3, Clause 6 grants to the Senate the sole power to try federal impeachments and spells out the basic procedures for impeachment trials. Among the requirements is the stipulation that the Chief Justice is to preside over presidential impeachment trials. This rule underscores the solemnity of the occasion and aims, in part, to avoid the possible conflict of interest of a Vice President's presiding over the proceeding for the removal of the one official standing between the Vice President and the presidency.[3] The Chief Justice has presided as such only twice:

According to Article One, Section 5, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution, the Senate is allowed to establish, for itself, its own rules of operations, including the roles and duties of the presiding officer. Those rules are known as the Standing Rules of the United States Senate, and Rule I deals with the appointment of a person to act as the chair, or presiding officer, for normal Senate proceedings. It recognizes the constitutionally mandated roles of vice president and president pro tempore, but goes further to allow for the appointment of an acting president pro tempore, and further allows for the president pro tempore to also designate any other senator to perform his duties. As a result, during the day-to-day operation of the body, it is rare for the actual presiding role to be handled by the president pro tempore (and rarer still for the vice president to do so). Instead, a designated junior senator is most commonly appointed to do the job.

Manner of address

The presiding officer is usually addressed as "Mr. President" or "Madame President." One exception is during impeachment trials of the president; the Chief Justice was referred to as "Mr. Chief Justice" both in 1868 and in 1999 while presiding over the Senate.[4]

During joint sessions of Congress in which the President of the United States is giving the address, practices have varied as to how the president refers to the vice president. Barack Obama and his predecessor George W. Bush addressed the vice president as "Vice President Biden" (in 2010) and "Vice President Cheney" (in 2008 and several previous years), or as "Mr. Vice President" (George W. Bush in 2001). However, earlier presidents referred to the vice president as "Mr. President" while addressing a joint session of Congress; Dwight D. Eisenhower, for instance, did so in 1960, and George H. W. Bush did so in 1991.

List of Presiding Officers of the United States Senate

List of Presiding Officers of the United States Senate

See also


  1. ^ "Vice President of the United States (President of the Senate)". United States Senate. Retrieved January 24, 2017.
  2. ^ a b "President Pro Tempore". United States Senate. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  3. ^ Gerhardt, Michael J. "Essay on Trial of Impeachment". The Heritage Foundation. Retrieved November 2, 2016.
  4. ^ See closing argument of Thaddeus Stevens during the trial of President Johnson and a transcript of Day 17 of the Senate impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton
This page was last edited on 8 April 2019, at 03:10
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