The United States Senate Journal is a written record of proceedings within the United States Senate in accordance with Article I, Section 5 of the U.S. Constitution.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secrecy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House, on any question, shall, at the desire of one-fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
According to the Library of Congress, the Senate Journal should be seen as the minutes of floor action. It notes the matters considered by the Senate and the votes and other actions taken. It does not record the actual debates, which can be consulted through the "Link to date-related documents" in the full text transcription of the Journal.Historically, the Journal of the Senate, like Journal of the House of Representatives and Journals of the House of Commons and the House of Lords in British Parliament, was an important source of parliamentary law.
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. The Constitution, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first three articles embody the doctrine of the separation of powers, whereby the federal government is divided into three branches: the legislative, consisting of the bicameral Congress ; the executive, consisting of the president and subordinate officers ; and the judicial, consisting of the Supreme Court and other federal courts. Article IV, Article V and Article VI embody concepts of federalism, describing the rights and responsibilities of state governments, the states in relationship to the federal government, and the shared process of constitutional amendment. Article VII establishes the procedure subsequently used by the thirteen States to ratify it. It is regarded as the oldest written and codified national constitution in force.
Article One of the United States Constitution establishes the legislative branch of the federal government, the United States Congress. Under Article One, Congress is a bicameral legislature consisting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Article One grants Congress various enumerated powers and the ability to pass laws "necessary and proper" to carry out those powers. Article One also establishes the procedures for passing a bill and places various limits on the powers of Congress and the states from abusing their powers.
Article Two of the United States Constitution establishes the executive branch of the federal government, which carries out and enforces federal laws. Article Two vests the power of the executive branch in the office of the president of the United States, lays out the procedures for electing and removing the president, and establishes the president's powers and responsibilities.
Article Five of the United States Constitution describes the process whereby the Constitution, the nation's frame of government, may be altered. Under Article V, the process to alter the Constitution consists of proposing an amendment or amendments, and subsequent ratification.
The Twenty-seventh Amendment to the United States Constitution prohibits any law that increases or decreases the salary of members of Congress from taking effect until the start of the next set of terms of office for representatives. The amendment is the most recent to be adopted, but one of the first proposed.
A veto is the power to unilaterally stop an official action, especially the enactment of legislation. A veto can be absolute, as for instance in the United Nations Security Council, whose permanent members can block any resolution, or it can be limited, as in the legislative process of the United States, where a two-thirds vote in both the House and Senate will override a presidential veto of legislation. A veto may give power only to stop changes, like the US legislative veto, or to also adopt them, like the legislative veto of the Indian President, which allows him to propose amendments to bills returned to Parliament for reconsideration.
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the president and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of Congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.
The War Powers Resolution is a federal law intended to check the U.S. president's power to commit the United States to an armed conflict without the consent of the U.S. Congress. The resolution was adopted in the form of a United States congressional joint resolution. It provides that the president can send the U.S. Armed Forces into action abroad only by declaration of war by Congress, "statutory authorization," or in case of "a national emergency created by attack upon the United States, its territories or possessions, or its armed forces."
A constitutional amendment is a modification of the constitution of a polity, organization or other type of entity. Amendments are often interwoven into the relevant sections of an existing constitution, directly altering the text. Conversely, they can be appended to the constitution as supplemental additions (codicils), thus changing the frame of government without altering the existing text of the document.
Contempt of Congress is the act of obstructing the work of the United States Congress or one of its committees. Historically, the bribery of a U.S. Senator or U.S. Representative was considered contempt of Congress. In modern times, contempt of Congress has generally applied to the refusal to comply with a subpoena issued by a Congressional committee or subcommittee—usually seeking to compel either testimony or the production of requested documents.
The Congressional Record is the official record of the proceedings and debates of the United States Congress, published by the United States Government Publishing Office and issued when Congress is in session. Indexes are issued approximately every two weeks. At the end of a session of Congress, the daily editions are compiled in bound volumes constituting the permanent edition. Chapter 9 of Title 44 of the United States Code authorizes publication of the Congressional Record.
Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 of the U.S. Constitution, sometimes referred to as the War Powers Clause, vests in the Congress the power to declare war, in the following wording:
The nuclear option is a parliamentary procedure that allows the United States Senate to override a standing rule of the Senate, such as the 60-vote rule to close debate, by a simple majority of 51 votes, rather than the two-thirds supermajority normally required to amend the rules. The option is invoked when the majority leader raises a point of order that contravenes a standing rule, such as that only a simple majority is needed to close debate on certain matters. The presiding officer denies the point of order based on Senate rules, but the ruling of the chair is then appealed and overturned by majority vote, establishing new precedent.
Impeachment in the United States is the process by which a legislature brings charges against a civil officer of government for crimes alleged to have been committed, analogous to the bringing of an indictment by a grand jury. Impeachment may occur at the federal level or the state level. The federal House of Representatives can impeach federal officials, including the president, and each state's legislature can impeach state officials, including the governor, in accordance with their respective federal or state constitution.
The Clerk of the United States House of Representatives is an officer of the United States House of Representatives, whose primary duty is to act as the chief record-keeper for the House.
Congressional oversight is oversight by the United States Congress over the Executive Branch, including the numerous U.S. federal agencies. Congressional oversight includes the review, monitoring, and supervision of federal agencies, programs, activities, and policy implementation. Congress exercises this power largely through its congressional committee system. Oversight also occurs in a wide variety of congressional activities and contexts. These include authorization, appropriations, investigative, and legislative hearings by standing committees; which is specialized investigations by select committees; and reviews and studies by congressional support agencies and staff.
The Treaty Clause is part of Article II, Section 2, Clause 2 of the United States Constitution that empowers the President of the United States to propose and chiefly negotiate agreements between the United States and other countries, which, upon receiving the advice and consent of a two-thirds supermajority vote of the United States Senate, become binding with the force of federal law.
The United States Senate is the upper chamber of the United States Congress, which, along with the United States House of Representatives—the lower chamber—constitutes the legislature of the United States. The Senate chamber is located in the north wing of the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.
United States v. Ballin, 144 U.S. 1 (1892), is a decision issued on February 29, 1892 by the United States Supreme Court, discussing the constitutional definition of "a quorum to do business" in Congress. Justice David Brewer delivered the opinion of the unanimous Court, analyzing the constitutional limitations on the United States Senate and House of Representatives when determining their rules of proceedings. In particular, the Court held that it fell within the powers of the House and Senate to establish their own rules for verifying whether a majority of their members is present, as required for a quorum under Article I of the Constitution.
Powers of the United States Congress are implemented by the United States Constitution, defined by rulings of the Supreme Court, and by its own efforts and by other factors such as history and custom. It is the chief legislative body of the United States. Some powers are explicitly defined by the Constitution and are called enumerated powers; others have been assumed to exist and are called implied powers.