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Senate, United States

The upper house of the United States Congress. Two senators are elected from each state, regardless of state population, guaranteeing each state equal representation. Senators are elected for six-year terms. The Senate tends to respond more directly than the House of Representatives to issues of national, rather than local, concern, though both houses of Congress participate in all aspects of legislation and policymaking. The Senate has the exclusive right to try cases of impeachment, approve presidential appointments, confirm treaties, and elect a vice president if no candidate receives a majority from the Electoral College. The vice president serves as presiding officer of the Senate.

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The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.