Sunday, August 22, 2010
Choose Own Leaders
The principle for this Constitution Monday is found in Article I.3.5: "The Senate shall choose its own clerks, sergeant at arms, and all other officers needed to function effectively." The Founders provided the Senate the right to conduct its business in independence from any other government office. The main officers in the Senate include: 1) The President Pro Tempore or president for the time being. This officer is always a leader from the majority party and is elected by Senators to preside when the Vice President is not in attendance. 2) The Committee Chairmen are chosen from the party in the majority by seniority; they have important roles in the process of legislation. 3) The Floor Leaders are the real leaders of the Senate and are chosen by each party. They are chosen in caucus meetings. Their job is to keep their members organized and in harmony with the party position. Other duties include scheduling legislation, handling information, promoting regular attendance, and being a liaison between the Senate and the White House. 4) Party Whips are assistants to the Floor Leaders. 5) The Secretary of the Senate administers oaths of office, keeps the Senate Seal, keeps record of legislative bills and certifies their passage. Other officers are the Sergeant at Arms, secretaries to both the majority and minority leaders, Chaplain of the Senate, the Parliamentarian, and the Senate pages.