Hart Senate Office Building
The Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building is the third U. S. Senate office building, is located on 2nd Street NE between Constitution Avenue NE and C Street NE in Washington, D. C. in the United States. Construction began in January 1975, it was first occupied in November 1982. Rising construction costs plagued the building, creating several scandals; the structure is named for Philip Hart. Accessed via a spur of the United States Capitol Subway System, the building features a nine-story atrium dominated by massive artwork, a large Central Hearing Facility which provides television facilities as well as extensive seating; the Dirksen Senate Office Building was intended to occupy the entire block bounded by 1st Street NE, Constitution Avenue NE, 2nd Street NE, C Street NE. However, due to the resource and financial demands of the Korean War, the building was scaled back and occupied only the western half of this area. In 1969, Congress voted to acquire the eastern half of the block for a "New Senate Office Building".
The Senate intended only to build a $21 million underground parking garage here. That effort was approved in June 1971, but in May 1972, the Subcommittee on Buildings of the Senate Committee on Public Works approved a plan to construct the New Senate Office Building above the parking garage. The building's cost was estimated at $48 million in June 1972; the full Senate approved the building plan in September 1972, but by the building's estimated cost had risen to $53.5 million. In April 1973, the Architect of the Capitol awarded the architectural design contract to John Carl Warnecke, a nationally prominent architect working in the District of Columbia who had helped save Lafayette Square and designed the John F. Kennedy grave site. Warnecke's design for the building was approved by the Senate Committee on Public Works on August 8, 1974. Warnecke was given just two weeks to come up with the cost estimate, which the Architect of the Capitol claimed was far too little time to generate an accurate cost forecast.
By the end of the year, the estimated cost of construction had risen to $69 million. Ground for the new structure was broken in January 1975, by the time ground clearance began in April the building's cost had risen to $84 million; the poor and uneven condition of the soil at the site caused delays in the excavation, major cost increases. When the foundations were finished, it was discovered that many of the anchoring bolts were misaligned and had to be replaced; this added extensive new costs to the project. On August 30, 1976, the Senate voted to name the new office building the Philip A. Hart Senate Office Building in honor of retiring Senator Philip Hart. Hart died on December 26, 1976, of melanoma, having declined to run for reelection the previous November. By August 1978, actual construction costs were now $85 million and were expected to top $122 million; the Senate approved a plan to spend another $54 million on the structure, cap costs at $135 million. The House approved this plan, but when constituents bitterly complained, the House reversed itself on both counts.
By 1979, construction estimates had soared to $179 million, the General Accounting Office said it would rise to $230 million without changes. In July 1979, the Senate agreed to cap costs at $137.7 million after an acrimonious three-hour debate during which some senators suggested the building be torn down. The Architect of the Capitol ordered changes in the design to keep construction costs under the $137.7 million cap. These included elimination of a penthouse-level dining room, $906,000 in furnishings for an interior gymnasium, oak paneling for each senator's office, dimmer switches for lights, a $400,000 art gallery, $227,000 in carpeting for auxiliary space, $167,700 for vertical blinds, $1.2 million for finishes and furnishings for a large central hearing room with hidden multimedia bays. The Hart Senate Office Building was completed in September 1982 at a cost of $137.7 million. The Architect of the Capitol argued that the higher costs of the Hart Senate Office building were due to the unexpected excavation issues, the foundation construction errors, Senate-ordered changes, high inflation, some mismanagement of the construction project.
Architect of the Capitol George M. White argued the construction cost was a reasonable $110 per square foot. Architect John Carl Warnecke defended the building's cost, noting that it doubled in size, that building costs in the District of Columbia leapt 76 percent during its erection. Warnecke dismissed allegations about Senate-ordered changes, saying these increased costs just 2 percent, said that construction alone was just $107 million, he argued that excellent construction management held inflation in construction costs to just 67 percent, that the building was erected at a cost of $97 per square foot, "well below the costs of any other major public building built in the District during that period." However, the American Institute of Architects said commercial co
Impeachment of Bill Clinton
The impeachment of Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, was initiated in December 1998 by the House of Representatives and led to a trial in the Senate on two charges, one of perjury and one of obstruction of justice. These charges stemmed from a sexual harassment lawsuit filed against Clinton by Paula Jones. Clinton was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12, 1999. Two other impeachment articles – a second perjury charge and a charge of abuse of power – failed in the House. Leading to the impeachment, Independent Counsel Ken Starr turned over documentation to the House Judiciary Committee. Chief Prosecutor David Schippers and his team reviewed the material and determined there was sufficient evidence to impeach the president; as a result, four charges were considered by the full House of Representatives. The trial in the United States Senate began right after the seating of the 106th Congress, in which the Republican Party held 55 Senate seats.
A two-thirds vote was required to remove Clinton from office. Fifty senators voted to remove Clinton on the obstruction of justice charge and 45 voted to remove him on the perjury charge. Clinton, like Johnson a century earlier, was acquitted on all charges. In 1994, Paula Jones filed a lawsuit accusing Clinton of sexual harassment when he was governor of Arkansas. Clinton attempted to delay a trial until after he left office, but in May 1997 the Supreme Court unanimously ordered the case to proceed and shortly thereafter the pre-trial discovery process commenced. Jones' attorneys wanted to prove that Clinton had engaged in a pattern of behavior with women that lent support to her claims. In late 1997, Linda Tripp began secretly recording conversations with her friend Monica Lewinsky, a former intern and Department of Defense employee, in which Lewinsky divulged that she had had a sexual relationship with the President. Tripp shared this information with Paula Jones' lawyers, who put Lewinsky on their witness list in December 1997.
According to the Starr report, after Lewinsky appeared on the witness list Clinton began taking steps to conceal their relationship, including suggesting she file a false affidavit, suggesting she use cover stories, concealing gifts he had given her, helping her obtain a job to her liking. Clinton gave a sworn deposition on January 17, 1998, where he denied having a "sexual relationship", "sexual affair" or "sexual relations" with Lewinsky, he denied that he was alone with her. His lawyer, Robert S. Bennett, stated with Clinton present that Lewinsky's affidavit showed that there was no sex in any manner, shape or form between Clinton and Lewinsky; the Starr Report states that the following day, Clinton "coached" his secretary Betty Currie into repeating his denials should she be called to testify. After rumors of the scandal reached the news, Clinton publicly stated, "I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky." Months Clinton admitted that his relationship with Lewinsky was "wrong" and "not appropriate".
Lewinsky engaged in oral sex with Clinton several times. The judge in the Jones case ruled the Lewinsky matter immaterial, threw out the case in April 1998 on the grounds that Jones had failed to show any damages. After Jones appealed, Clinton agreed in November 1998 to settle the case for $850,000 while still admitting no wrongdoing; the charges arose from an investigation by an Independent Counsel. Dealing with Whitewater, with the approval of United States Attorney General Janet Reno, conducted a wide-ranging investigation of alleged abuses, including the Whitewater affair, the firing of White House travel agents, the alleged misuse of FBI files. On January 12, 1998, Linda Tripp, working with the Jones lawyers, informed Starr that Lewinsky was preparing to commit perjury in the Jones case and had asked Tripp to do the same, she said Clinton's friend Vernon Jordan was assisting Lewinsky. Based on the connection to Jordan, under scrutiny in the Whitewater probe, Starr obtained approval from Reno to expand his investigation into whether Lewinsky and others were breaking the law.
A much-quoted statement from Clinton's grand jury testimony showed him questioning the precise use of the word "is". Contending that his statement that "there's nothing going on between us" had been truthful because he had no ongoing relationship with Lewinsky at the time he was questioned, Clinton said, "It depends upon what the meaning of the word'is' is. If the—if he—if'is' means is and never has been, not—that is one thing. If it means there is none, a true statement". Starr obtained further evidence of inappropriate behavior by seizing the computer hard drive and email records of Monica Lewinsky. Based on the president's conflicting testimony, Starr concluded. Starr submitted his findings to Congress in a lengthy document, posted the report, which included descriptions of encounters between Clinton and Lewinsky, on the Internet. Starr was criticized by Democrats for spending $70 million on an investigation that substantiated only perjury and obstruction of justice. Critics of Starr contend that his investigation was politicized because it leaked tidbits of information to the press in violation of legal ethics, because his report included lengthy description
The Iraq War was a protracted armed conflict that began in 2003 with the invasion of Iraq by a United States-led coalition that overthrew the government of Saddam Hussein. The conflict continued for much of the next decade as an insurgency emerged to oppose the occupying forces and the post-invasion Iraqi government. An estimated 151,000 to 600,000 or more Iraqis were killed in the first three to four years of conflict. In 2009, official US troops were withdrawn, but American soldiers continued to remain on the ground fighting in Iraq, hired by defence contractors and private military companies; the U. S. became re-involved in 2014 at the head of a new coalition. The invasion occurred as part of a declared war against international terrorism and its sponsors under the administration of U. S. President George W. Bush following the unrelated September 11 terrorist attacks. In October 2002, President Bush obtained congressional approval from a Democrat-led Senate and Republican-led House authorizing war-making powers.
The Iraq war began on 19 March 2003, when the U. S. joined by the U. K. and several coalition allies, launched a "awe" bombing campaign. Iraqi forces were overwhelmed as U. S. forces swept through the country. The invasion led to the collapse of the Ba'athist government. However, the power vacuum following Saddam's demise and the mismanagement of the occupation led to widespread sectarian violence between Shias and Sunnis, as well as a lengthy insurgency against U. S. and coalition forces. Many violent insurgent groups were supported by al-Qaeda in Iraq; the United States responded with a troop surge in 2007, a build up of 170,000 troops. The surge in troops gave greater security to Iraq’s government and military, was a success; the winding down of U. S. involvement in Iraq accelerated under President Barack Obama. The U. S. formally withdrew all combat troops from Iraq by December 2011. However, with no stay-behind agreement or advisers left in Iraq, a new power vacuum was created and led to the rise of ISIS.
Nine months after President Trump was elected, U. S.-backed forces captured Raqqa. The Bush administration based its rationale for the war principally on the assertion that Iraq, viewed by the U. S. as a rogue state since the 1990–1991 Gulf War, possessed weapons of mass destruction and that there was concern about an active WMD program, that the Iraqi government posed a threat to the United States and its coalition allies. Select U. S. officials accused Saddam of harbouring and supporting al-Qaeda, while others cited the desire to end a repressive dictatorship and bring democracy to the people of Iraq. Hundreds of chemical weapons were found in Iraq, which were determined to be produced before the 1991 Gulf War, intelligence officials determined they were "so old they couldn't be used as designed." From 2004 to 2011, US troops and American-trained Iraqi troops encountered, on six reported occasions were wounded by, chemical weapons from years earlier in Saddam Hussein's rule. 5,000 chemical warheads, shells or aviation bombs were discovered.
The rationale of U. S. pre-war intelligence faced heavy criticism both domestically and internationally. From 2009 to 2011, the UK conducted a broad inquiry into its decision to go to war chaired by Sir John Chilcot; the Chilcot Report, published in 2016, concluded military action may have been necessary but was not the last resort at the time and that the consequences of invasion were underestimated. In the aftermath of the invasion, Iraq held multi-party elections in 2005. Nouri al-Maliki became Prime Minister in 2006 and remained in office until 2014; the al-Maliki government enacted policies that were seen as having the effect of alienating the country's Sunni minority and worsening sectarian tensions. In the summer of 2014, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched a military offensive in Northern Iraq and declared a worldwide Islamic caliphate, eliciting another military response from the United States and its allies; the Iraq War caused over a hundred thousand civilian deaths and tens of thousands of military deaths.
The majority of deaths occurred as a result of the insurgency and civil conflicts between 2004 and 2007. Strong international opposition to the Saddam Hussein regime began after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990; the international community condemned the invasion, in 1991 a military coalition led by the United States launched the Gulf War to expel Iraq from Kuwait. Following the Gulf War, the US and its allies tried to keep Saddam in check with a policy of containment; this policy involved numerous economic sanctions by the UN Security Council. The inspections were carried out by the United Nations Special Commission. UNSCOM, in cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency, worked to ensure that Iraq destroyed its chemical and nuclear weapons and facilities. In the decade following the Gulf War, the United Nations passed 16 Security Council resolutions calling for the complete elimination of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Member states communicated their frustration over the years that Iraq was impeding the work of the special commission and failing to take its disarmament obligations.
Iraqi officials harass
Chemical Weapons Convention
The Chemical Weapons Convention is an arms control treaty that outlaws the production and use of chemical weapons and their precursors. The full name of the treaty is the Convention on the Prohibition of the Development, Production and Use of Chemical Weapons and on their Destruction and it is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, an intergovernmental organization based in The Hague, The Netherlands; the treaty entered into force on 29 April 1997. The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the large-scale use, production and transfer of chemical weapons. Limited production for research, pharmaceutical or protective purposes is still permitted; the main obligation of member states under the convention is to effect this prohibition, as well as the destruction of all current chemical weapons. All destruction activities must take place under OPCW verification; as of May 2018, 193 states accept its obligations. Israel has signed but not ratified the agreement, while three other UN member states have neither signed nor acceded to the treaty.
Most the State of Palestine deposited its instrument of accession to the CWC on 17 May 2018. In September 2013 Syria acceded to the convention as part of an agreement for the destruction of Syria's chemical weapons; as of November 2018, 96.62% of the world's declared chemical weapons stockpiles had been destroyed. The convention has provisions for systematic evaluation of chemical production facilities, as well as for investigations of allegations of use and production of chemical weapons based on intelligence of other state parties; some chemicals which have been used extensively in warfare but have numerous large-scale industrial uses such as phosgene are regulated, certain notable exceptions exist. Chlorine gas is toxic, but being a pure element and widely used for peaceful purposes, is not listed as a chemical weapon. Certain state-powers continue to manufacture and implement such chemicals in combat munitions. Although these chemicals are not listed as controlled by the CWC, the use of any toxic chemical as a weapon is in-and-of itself forbidden by the treaty.
Other chemicals, such as white phosphorus, are toxic but are legal under the CWC when they are used by military forces for reasons other than their toxicity. Intergovernmental consideration of a chemical and biological weapons ban was initiated in 1968 within the 18-nation Disarmament Committee, after numerous changes of name and composition, became the Conference on Disarmament in 1984. On 3 September 1992 the Conference on Disarmament submitted to the U. N. General Assembly its annual report; the General Assembly approved the Convention on 30 November 1992, the U. N. Secretary-General opened the Convention for signature in Paris on 13 January 1993; the CWC remained open for signature until its entry into force on 29 April 1997, 180 days after the deposit of the 65th instrument of ratification. The convention augments the Geneva Protocol of 1925 for chemical weapons and includes extensive verification measures such as on-site inspections, it does not, cover biological weapons. The convention is administered by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which acts as the legal platform for specification of the CWC provisions.
The Conference of the States Parties is mandated to change the CWC and pass regulations on implementation of CWC requirements. The Technical Secretariat of the organization conducts inspections to ensure compliance of member states; these inspections target destruction facilities, chemical weapons production facilities which have been dismantled or converted for civil use, as well as inspections of the chemical industry. The Secretariat may furthermore conduct "investigations of alleged use" of chemical weapons and give assistance after use of chemical weapons; the 2013 Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the organization because it had, with the Chemical Weapons Convention, "defined the use of chemical weapons as a taboo under international law" according to Thorbjørn Jagland, Chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee. Prohibition of production and use of chemical weapons Destruction of chemical weapons production facilities Destruction of all chemical weapons Assistance between State Parties and the OPCW in the case of use of chemical weapons An OPCW inspection regime for the production of chemicals which might be converted to chemical weapons International cooperation in the peaceful use of chemistry in relevant areas The convention distinguishes three classes of controlled substance, chemicals that can either be used as weapons themselves or used in the manufacture of weapons.
The classification is based on the quantities of the substance produced commercially for legitimate purposes. Each class is split into Part A, which are chemicals that can be used directly as weapons, Part B, which are chemicals useful in the manufacture of chemical weapons. Separate from the precursors, the convention defines toxic chemicals as "ny chemical which through its chemical action on life processes can cause death, temporary incapacitation or permanent harm to humans or animals; this includes all such chemicals, regardless of their origin or of their method of production, regardless of whether they are produ
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore of the United States Senate is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. Article One, Section Three of the United States Constitution provides that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate, mandates that the Senate must choose a President pro tempore to act in the Vice President's absence. Unlike the Vice President, the President pro tempore is an elected member of the Senate, able to speak or vote on any issue. Selected by the Senate at large, the President pro tempore has enjoyed many privileges and some limited powers. During the Vice President's absence, the President pro tempore is empowered to preside over Senate sessions. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore presides. S. Senators of the majority party to give them experience in parliamentary procedure. Since 1890, the most senior U. S. Senator in the majority party has been chosen to be President pro tempore and holds the office continuously until the election of another.
This tradition has been observed without interruption since 1949. Since the enactment of the current Presidential Succession Act in 1947, the president pro tempore is third in the line of succession to the presidency, after the vice president and the Speaker of the House of Representatives and ahead of the Secretary of State; the current President pro tempore of the Senate is Iowa Republican Charles Grassley. Elected on January 3, 2019, he is the 91st person to serve in this office. Although the position is in some ways analogous to the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the powers of the president pro tempore are far more limited. In the Senate, most power rests with party leaders and individual senators, but as the chamber's presiding officer, the president pro tempore is authorized to perform certain duties in the absence of the vice president, including ruling on points of order. Additionally, under the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the president pro tempore and the speaker are the two authorities to whom declarations must be transmitted that the president is unable to perform the duties of the office, or is able to resume doing so.
The president pro tempore is third in the line of presidential succession, following the vice president and the speaker, is one of the few members of Congress entitled to a full-time security detail. Additional duties include appointment of various congressional officers, certain commissions, advisory boards, committees and joint supervision of the congressional page school; the president pro tempore is the designated legal recipient of various reports to the Senate, including War Powers Act reports under which he or she, jointly with the speaker, may have the president call Congress back into session. The officeholder is an ex officio member of various commissions. With the secretary and sergeant at arms, the president pro tempore maintains order in Senate portions of the Capitol and Senate buildings; the office of president pro tempore was established by the Constitution of the United States in 1789. The first president pro tempore, John Langdon, was elected on April 6 the same year. Between 1792 and 1886, the president pro tempore was second in the line of presidential succession following the vice president and preceding the speaker.
Through 1891, the president pro tempore was appointed on an intermittent basis only, when the vice president was not present to preside over the Senate, or at the adjournment of a session of Congress. Langdon served four separate terms from 1789 to 1793. During the 4th Congress; when called upon to serve, they would preside, sign legislation, perform routine administrative tasks. Whenever the vice presidency was vacant, as it was on 10 occasions between 1812 and 1889, the office garnered heightened importance, for although he did not assume the vice presidency, the president pro tempore was next in line for the presidency. Before the ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, a vacancy in the vice presidency could be filled only by a regular election; when President Andrew Johnson, who had no vice president, was impeached and tried in 1868, Senate President pro tempore Benjamin Franklin Wade was next in line to the presidency. Wade's radicalism is thought by many historians to be a major reason why the Senate, which did not want to see Wade in the White House, acquitted Johnson.
The President pro tempore and the Speaker of the House were removed from the presidential line of succession in 1886. Both were restored to it in 1947, though this time with the president pro tempore following the speaker. William P. Frye served as President pro tempore from 1896 a tenure longer than anyone else, he resigned from the position due to ill health a couple of months before his death. Electing his successor proved difficult, as Senate Republicans in the majority, were split be
New START is a nuclear arms reduction treaty between the United States and the Russian Federation with the formal name of Measures for the Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms. It was signed on 8 April 2010 in Prague, after ratification, entered into force on 5 February 2011, it is expected to last at least until 2021. New START replaced the Treaty of Moscow, due to expire in December 2012, its name is a follow-up to the START I treaty, which expired in December 2009, the proposed START II treaty, which never entered into force, the START III treaty, for which negotiations were never concluded. Under terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half. A new inspection and verification regime will be established, it does not limit the number of operationally inactive stockpiled nuclear warheads that remain in the high thousands in both the Russian and American inventories. Under the terms of the treaty, the number of strategic nuclear missile launchers will be reduced by half.
The treaty limits the number of deployed strategic nuclear warheads to 1,550, down nearly two-thirds from the original START treaty, as well as 10% lower than the deployed strategic warhead limit of the 2002 Moscow Treaty. The total number of deployed warheads, could exceed the 1,550 limit by a few hundred because per bomber only one warhead is counted regardless of how many it carries, it will limit the number of deployed and non-deployed inter-continental ballistic missile launchers, submarine-launched ballistic missile launchers, heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments to 800. The number of deployed ICBMs, SLBMs, heavy bombers equipped for nuclear armaments is limited to 700; the treaty allows for satellite and remote monitoring, as well as 18 on-site inspections per year to verify limits. These obligations must be met within seven years from the date; the treaty will last ten years, with an option to renew it for up to five years upon agreement of both parties. The treaty entered into force on 5 February 2011, when the United States and Russia exchanged instruments of ratification, following approval by the U.
S. Senate and the Federal Assembly of Russia. However, the United States began implementing the reductions before the treaty was ratified. Documents made available to the U. S. Senate described removal from service of at least 30 missile silos, 34 bombers and 56 submarine launch tubes, though missiles removed would not be destroyed and bombers could be converted to conventional use. While four of 24 launchers on each of the 14 ballistic missile nuclear submarines would be removed, none would be retired; the treaty places no limits on tactical systems, such as the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, which will most be replacing the F-15E and F-16 in the tactical nuclear delivery role. The treaty does not cover rail-mobile ICBM launchers because neither party possesses such systems. ICBMs on such launchers would be covered under the generic launcher limits, but the inspection details for such systems would have to be worked out between the parties if such systems were reintroduced in the future.
The New START treaty is the successor to the START I. The START II was signed, but not ratified; the START III negotiating process was not successful. The drafting of the treaty commenced in April 2009 after the meeting between the presidents of the two countries, Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev, in London. Preliminary talks were held in Rome on 27 April, although it was planned to have them held in the middle of May. Prolonged talks were conducted by U. S. and Russian delegations, led on the American side by U. S. State Department Assistant Secretary Rose Gottemoeller; the Russian delegation was headed by Anatoly Antonov, director of security and disarmament at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Talks were held on: First round: 19–20 May 2009, Moscow Second round: 1–3 June 2009, Geneva Third round: 22–24 June 2009, Geneva Fourth round: 22–24 July 2009, Geneva Fifth round: 31 August–2 September 2009, Geneva Sixth round: 21–28 September 2009, Geneva Seventh round: 19–30 October 2009, Geneva Eighth round: 9 November 2009, GenevaOn the morning of 6 July 2009, the agreement on the text of the "Joint Understanding on Further Reduction and Limitation of Strategic Offensive Arms" was announced, signed by Medvedev and Obama during the US Presidential visit to Moscow the same day.
The document listed the intention of both parties to reduce the number of nuclear warheads to 1,500–1,675 units, as well as their delivery weapons to 500–1,100 units. Presidents Obama and Medvedev announced on 26 March 2010 that they had reached an agreement, they signed the treaty on 8 April 2010 in Prague. On 13 May, the agreement was submitted by U. S. President Barack Obama for ratification in the U. S. Senate. Ratification required 67 votes in favor. On Tuesday, 16 September 2010 the Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 14–4 in favor of ratifying New START; the measure had support from three Senate Republicans: Richard Lugar of Indiana, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Johnny Isakson of Georgia. Senator John Kerry and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton expressed optimism that a deal on ratification was near. Republicans in the Senate deferred to Jon Kyl, a leading conservative on defense issues, who sought a strong commitment to modernize U. S. nuclear forces, questioned whether there was time for ratification during the lame duck session, calling for an opening of the negotiation record before a vote is held.
Senator Ben Nelson joined Kyl in expressing skepticism over
Party leaders of the United States Senate
The Senate Majority and Minority Leaders are two United States Senators and members of the party leadership of the United States Senate. These leaders serve as the chief Senate spokespeople for the political parties holding the majority and the minority in the United States Senate, manage and schedule the legislative and executive business of the Senate, they are elected to their positions in the Senate by the party caucuses: the Senate Democratic Caucus and the Senate Republican Conference. By rule, the Presiding Officer gives the Majority Leader priority in obtaining recognition to speak on the floor of the Senate; the Majority Leader customarily serves as the chief representative of their party in the Senate, sometimes in all of Congress if the House of Representatives and thus the office of Speaker of the House is controlled by the opposition party. The Assistant Majority and Minority Leaders of the United States Senate are the second-ranking members of each party's leadership; the main function of the Majority and Minority Whips is to gather votes on major issues.
Because they are the second ranking members of the Senate, if there is no floor leader present, the whip may become acting floor leader. Before 1969, the official titles were Minority Whip; the Senate is composed of 53 Republicans, 45 Democrats, 2 independents, both of whom caucus with the Democrats. The current leaders are Chuck Schumer from New York; the current Assistant Leaders/Whips are Senators John Thune from South Dakota and Dick Durbin from Illinois. Democrats began the practice of electing floor leaders in 1920. John W. Kern was a Democratic Senator from Indiana. While the title was not official, he is considered to be the first Senate party leader from 1913 through 1917, while serving concurrently as Chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus. In 1925 the majority Republicans adopted this language when Charles Curtis became the first Majority Leader, although his immediate predecessor Henry Cabot Lodge is considered the first Senate Majority Leader; the Constitution designates the Vice President of the United States as President of the United States Senate.
The Constitution calls for a President pro tempore to serve as the leader of the body when the President of the Senate is absent. In practice, neither the Vice President nor the President pro tempore—customarily the most senior Senator in the majority party—actually presides over the Senate on a daily basis. Since the Vice President may be of a different party than the majority and is not a member subject to discipline, the rules of procedure of the Senate give the presiding officer little power and none beyond the presiding role. For these reasons, it is the Majority Leader; this is in contrast to the House of Representatives where the elected Speaker of the House has a great deal of discretionary power and presides over votes on bills. The Democratic Party first selected a leader in 1920; the Republican Party first formally designated a leader in 1925. Party leaders of the United States House of Representatives President pro tempore of the United States Senate Vice President of the United States Party divisions of United States Congresses List of political parties in the United States Women in the United States Senate Majority and Minority Leaders and Party Whips, via Senate.gov Republican Majority Democratic Minority