Vice President of the United States

Vice President of the United States

Overview
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, is indirectly elected
Indirect election
Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election don't actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. It is one of the oldest form of elections and is still used today for many upper houses and presidents...

 by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term. The Vice President is the first person in the presidential line of succession
United States presidential line of succession
The United States presidential line of succession defines who may become or act as President of the United States upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office of a sitting president or a president-elect.- Current order :This is a list of the current presidential line of...

, ascending to the Presidency upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President.

Under the Constitution, the Vice President is President of the United States Senate.
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Encyclopedia
The Vice President of the United States is the holder of a public office created by the United States Constitution. The Vice President, together with the President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

, is indirectly elected
Indirect election
Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election don't actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. It is one of the oldest form of elections and is still used today for many upper houses and presidents...

 by the people, through the Electoral College, to a four-year term. The Vice President is the first person in the presidential line of succession
United States presidential line of succession
The United States presidential line of succession defines who may become or act as President of the United States upon the incapacity, death, resignation, or removal from office of a sitting president or a president-elect.- Current order :This is a list of the current presidential line of...

, ascending to the Presidency upon the death, resignation, or removal of the President.

Under the Constitution, the Vice President is President of the United States Senate. In that capacity, he is only allowed to vote in the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 when necessary to break a tied vote
United States Vice Presidents' tie-breaking votes
The Vice President of the United States is the ex-officio President of the United States Senate, as provided in Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 of the United States Constitution:...

. While Senate customs have created supermajority rules that have diminished this Constitutional power, the Vice President still retains the ability to affect legislation (e.g. the Deficit Reduction Act of 2005). Pursuant to the Twelfth Amendment
Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in...

, the Vice President presides over the joint session of Congress
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 when it convenes to count the vote of the Electoral College.

While the Vice President's only constitutionally prescribed functions, aside from Presidential succession, relate to his role as President of the Senate, the office is commonly viewed as a member of the executive branch of the federal government
Federal government of the United States
The federal government of the United States is the national government of the constitutional republic of fifty states that is the United States of America. The federal government comprises three distinct branches of government: a legislative, an executive and a judiciary. These branches and...

. The U.S. Constitution does not expressly assign the office to any one branch, causing scholars to dispute whether it belongs to the executive branch, the legislative branch, or both. The modern view of the vice president as a member of the executive branch is due in part to the assignment of executive duties to the vice president by either the president or Congress, though such activities are only recent historical developments.

Origin


The creation of the office of Vice President was a direct consequence of the Electoral College. Delegates to the Philadelphia Convention
Philadelphia Convention
The Constitutional Convention took place from May 14 to September 17, 1787, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to address problems in governing the United States of America, which had been operating under the Articles of Confederation following independence from...

 gave each state a number of presidential electors equal to that state's combined share of House
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 seats. Yet the delegates were worried that each elector would only favor his own state's favorite son
Favorite son
A favorite son is a political term.*At the quadrennial American national political party conventions, a state delegation sometimes nominates and votes for a candidate from the state, or less often from the state's region, who is not a viable candidate...

 candidate, resulting in deadlocked elections that would produce no winners. To counter this presumed difficulty, the delegates gave each presidential elector two votes, required at least one of those votes be for a candidate from outside the elector's state, and mandated that the winner of the election obtain an absolute majority with respect to the total number of electors. With these rules in place, the delegates hoped each electors' second vote would go to a statesman of national character.

However, fearing electors might throw away their second vote to bolster their favorite son's chance of winning, the Philadelphia delegates specified that the runner-up in the election would become Vice President. Creating this new office imposed a political cost on discarded votes, and thus required electors staidly cast their second ballots.

Roles of the Vice President


The Constitution limits the formal powers and role of Vice President to becoming President should the President become unable to serve (due to the death, resignation, or medical impairment of the President), prompting the well-known expression "only a heartbeat away from the Presidency", and to acting as the presiding officer of the U.S. Senate
President of the Senate
The President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate, and is the speaker of other assemblies.The senate president often ranks high in a jurisdiction's succession for its top executive office: for example, the President of the Senate of Nigeria is second in line...

.

President of the United States Senate


As President of the Senate, the Vice President has two primary duties: to cast a vote in the event of a Senate deadlock and to preside over and certify the official vote count of the U.S. Electoral College. For example, in the first half of 2001
107th United States Congress
The One Hundred Seventh United States Congress was a meeting of the legislative branch of the United States federal government, composed of the United States Senate and the United States House of Representatives. It met in Washington, D.C. from January 3, 2001 to January 3, 2003, during the final...

, the Senators were divided 50-50 between Republicans and Democrats and Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

's tie-breaking vote gave the Republicans the Senate majority.

Regular duties


As President of the Senate (Article I, Section 3, Clause 4), the Vice President oversees procedural matters and may cast a tie-breaking vote. There is a strong convention within the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 that the Vice President not use his position as President of the Senate to influence the passage of legislation or act in a partisan manner, except in the case of breaking tie votes. As President of the Senate, John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 cast twenty-nine tie-breaking votes, a record that no successor except for John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 even threatened. Adams's votes protected the President's sole authority over the removal of appointees, influenced the location of the national capital, and prevented war with Great Britain
Kingdom of Great Britain
The former Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes described as the 'United Kingdom of Great Britain', That the Two Kingdoms of Scotland and England, shall upon the 1st May next ensuing the date hereof, and forever after, be United into One Kingdom by the Name of GREAT BRITAIN. was a sovereign...

. On at least one occasion Adams persuaded senators to vote against legislation that he opposed, and he frequently addressed the Senate on procedural and policy matters. Adams's political views and his active role in the Senate made him a natural target for critics of George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

's administration. Toward the end of his first term, as a result of a threatened resolution that would have silenced him except for procedural and policy matters, he began to exercise more restraint in the hope of realizing the goal shared by many of his successors: election in his own right as President of the United States.

In modern times, the Vice President rarely presides over day-to-day matters in the Senate; in his place, the Senate chooses a President pro tempore
President pro tempore of the United States Senate
The President pro tempore is the second-highest-ranking official of the United States Senate. The United States Constitution states that the Vice President of the United States is the President of the Senate and the highest-ranking official of the Senate despite not being a member of the body...

 (or "president for a time") to preside in the Vice President's absence; the Senate normally selects the longest-serving senator in the majority party. The President pro tempore has the power to appoint any other senator to preside and in practice, junior senators from the majority party are assigned the task of presiding over the Senate at most times.

Except for this tie-breaking role, the Standing Rules of the Senate vest no significant responsibilities in the Vice President. Rule XIX, which governs debate, does not authorize the Vice President to participate in debate, and grants only to members of the Senate (and, upon appropriate notice, former presidents of the United States) the privilege of addressing the Senate, without granting a similar privilege to the sitting Vice President. Thus, as Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

magazine wrote during the controversial tenure of Vice President Charles G. Dawes
Charles G. Dawes
Charles Gates Dawes was an American banker and politician who was the 30th Vice President of the United States . For his work on the Dawes Plan for World War I reparations he was a co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. He served in the First World War, was U.S...

, "once in four years the Vice President can make a little speech, and then he is done. For four years he then has to sit in the seat of the silent, attending to speeches ponderous or otherwise, of deliberation or humor."

Recurring, infrequent duties


The President of the Senate also presides over counting and presentation of the votes of the Electoral College. This process occurs in the presence of both houses of Congress, generally on January 6 of the year following a U.S. presidential election. In this capacity, only four Vice Presidents have been able to announce their own election to the presidency: John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

, Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

, Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States . Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson ....

, and George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

. At the beginning of 1961, it fell to Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 to preside over this process, which officially announced the election of his 1960 opponent, John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. In 2001, Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 announced the election of his opponent, George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. In 1969, Vice President Hubert H. Humphrey would have announced the election of his opponent, Richard Nixon; however, on the date of the Congressional joint session (January 6), Humphrey was in Norway
Norway
Norway , officially the Kingdom of Norway, is a Nordic unitary constitutional monarchy whose territory comprises the western portion of the Scandinavian Peninsula, Jan Mayen, and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard and Bouvet Island. Norway has a total area of and a population of about 4.9 million...

 attending the funeral of Trygve Lie
Trygve Lie
Trygve Halvdan Lie was a Norwegian politician, labour leader, government official and author. He served as Norwegian Foreign minister during the critical years of the Norwegian government in exile in London from 1940 to 1945. From 1946 to 1952 he was the first Secretary-General of the United...

, the first elected Secretary-General
Secretary-General
-International intergovernmental organizations:-International nongovernmental organizations:-Sports governing bodies:...

 of the United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

.

The President of the Senate may also preside over most of the impeachment
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 trials of federal officers. However, whenever the President is impeached, the US Constitution requires the Chief Justice of the United States
Chief Justice of the United States
The Chief Justice of the United States is the head of the United States federal court system and the chief judge of the Supreme Court of the United States. The Chief Justice is one of nine Supreme Court justices; the other eight are the Associate Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States...

 to preside over the Senate for the trial. The Constitution is silent as to the presiding officer in the instance where the Vice-President is the officer impeached.

Succession and the Twenty-Fifth Amendment



The U.S. Constitution provides that should the president die or become disabled while in office, the "powers and duties" of the office are transferred to the Vice President. Initially, it was unclear whether the Vice President actually became the new President or merely an acting President. This was first tested in 1841 with the death of President William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison
William Henry Harrison was the ninth President of the United States , an American military officer and politician, and the first president to die in office. He was 68 years, 23 days old when elected, the oldest president elected until Ronald Reagan in 1980, and last President to be born before the...

. Harrison's Vice President, John Tyler
John Tyler
John Tyler was the tenth President of the United States . A native of Virginia, Tyler served as a state legislator, governor, U.S. representative, and U.S. senator before being elected Vice President . He was the first to succeed to the office of President following the death of a predecessor...

, asserted that he had succeeded to the full Presidential office, powers, and title, and declined to acknowledge documents referring to him as "Acting President." Despite some strong calls against it, Tyler took the oath of office as the tenth President. Tyler's claim was not challenged legally, and so the Tyler precedent of full succession was established. This was made explicit by Section 1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ratified in 1967.

Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provides for Vice Presidential succession:
Gerald Ford
Gerald Ford
Gerald Rudolph "Jerry" Ford, Jr. was the 38th President of the United States, serving from 1974 to 1977, and the 40th Vice President of the United States serving from 1973 to 1974...

 was the first Vice President selected by this method, after the resignation of Vice President Spiro Agnew
Spiro Agnew
Spiro Theodore Agnew was the 39th Vice President of the United States , serving under President Richard Nixon, and the 55th Governor of Maryland...

 in 1973; after succeeding to the Presidency, Ford nominated Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Rockefeller
Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller was the 41st Vice President of the United States , serving under President Gerald Ford, and the 49th Governor of New York , as well as serving the Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower administrations in a variety of positions...

 as Vice President.


Another issue was who had the power to declare that an incapacitated president is unable to discharge his duties. This question had arisen most recently with the illnesses of President Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

. Section 3 and Section 4 of the amendment provide means for the Vice President to become Acting President
Acting President of the United States
Acting President of the United States is a reference to a person who is legitimately exercising the Presidential powers even though that person does not hold the office of the President of the United States in his own right....

 upon the temporary disability of the president. Section 3 deals with self-declared incapacity of the president. Section 4 deals with incapacity declared by the joint action of the Vice President and of a majority of the Cabinet.

While Section 4 has never been invoked, Section 3 has been invoked three times: on July 13, 1985 when Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 underwent surgery to remove cancerous polyps from his colon
Colon (anatomy)
The colon is the last part of the digestive system in most vertebrates; it extracts water and salt from solid wastes before they are eliminated from the body, and is the site in which flora-aided fermentation of unabsorbed material occurs. Unlike the small intestine, the colon does not play a...

, and twice more on June 29, 2002 and July 21, 2007 when George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 underwent colonoscopy procedures requiring sedation. Prior to this amendment, Vice President Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

 informally replaced President Dwight Eisenhower for several weeks on each of three occasions when Eisenhower was ill.

Informal roles


The extent of any informal roles and functions of the Vice President depend on the specific relationship between the President and the Vice President, but often include tasks such as drafter and spokesperson for the administration's policies, adviser to the President, and being a symbol of American concern or support. The influence of the Vice President in this role depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the particular administration. Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

, for instance, was widely regarded as one of President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

's closest confidants. Al Gore
Al Gore
Albert Arnold "Al" Gore, Jr. served as the 45th Vice President of the United States , under President Bill Clinton. He was the Democratic Party's nominee for President in the 2000 U.S. presidential election....

 was an important adviser to President Bill Clinton
Bill Clinton
William Jefferson "Bill" Clinton is an American politician who served as the 42nd President of the United States from 1993 to 2001. Inaugurated at age 46, he was the third-youngest president. He took office at the end of the Cold War, and was the first president of the baby boomer generation...

 on matters of foreign policy
Foreign policy
A country's foreign policy, also called the foreign relations policy, consists of self-interest strategies chosen by the state to safeguard its national interests and to achieve its goals within international relations milieu. The approaches are strategically employed to interact with other countries...

 and the environment
Environmental policy
Environmental policy is any [course of] action deliberately taken [or not taken] to manage human activities with a view to prevent, reduce, or mitigate harmful effects on nature and natural resources, and ensuring that man-made changes to the environment do not have harmful effects on...

. Often, Vice Presidents will take harder-line stands on issues to ensure the support of the party's base while deflecting partisan criticism away from the President.

Under the American system the President is both head of state
Head of State
A head of state is the individual that serves as the chief public representative of a monarchy, republic, federation, commonwealth or other kind of state. His or her role generally includes legitimizing the state and exercising the political powers, functions, and duties granted to the head of...

 and head of government
Head of government
Head of government is the chief officer of the executive branch of a government, often presiding over a cabinet. In a parliamentary system, the head of government is often styled prime minister, chief minister, premier, etc...

, and the ceremonial duties of the former position are often delegated to the Vice President. The Vice President may meet with other heads of state or attend state funerals in other countries, at times when the administration wishes to demonstrate concern or support but cannot send the President himself. Not all Vice Presidents are happy in their jobs. John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner
John Nance Garner, IV , was the 32nd Vice President of the United States and the 44th Speaker of the United States House of Representatives .- Early life and family :...

, who served as Vice President from 1933 to 1941 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

, claimed that the Vice Presidency "isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss."

Other statutorily granted roles include membership of both the National Security Council
United States National Security Council
The White House National Security Council in the United States is the principal forum used by the President of the United States for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and Cabinet officials and is part of the Executive Office of the...

 and the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution
Smithsonian Institution
The Smithsonian Institution is an educational and research institute and associated museum complex, administered and funded by the government of the United States and by funds from its endowment, contributions, and profits from its retail operations, concessions, licensing activities, and magazines...

.

Office as stepping stone to the Presidency


In recent decades, the Vice Presidency has frequently been used to launch bids for the Presidency. The transition of the office to its modern stature occurred primarily as a result of Franklin Roosevelt's 1940 nomination, when he captured the ability to nominate his running mate instead of leaving the nomination to the convention. Prior to that, party bosses often used the Vice Presidential nomination as a consolation prize for the party's minority faction. A further factor potentially contributing to the rise in prestige of the office was the adoption of Presidential preference primaries in the early 20th century. By adopting primary voting, the field of candidates for Vice President was expanded by both the increased quantity and quality of presidential candidates successful in some primaries, yet who ultimately failed to capture the Presidential nomination at the convention.

Of the thirteen Presidential elections from 1956 to 2004, nine featured the incumbent President; the other four (1960, 1968, 1988, 2000) all featured the incumbent Vice President. Former Vice Presidents also ran, in 1984 (Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

), and in 1968 (Richard Nixon
Richard Nixon
Richard Milhous Nixon was the 37th President of the United States, serving from 1969 to 1974. The only president to resign the office, Nixon had previously served as a US representative and senator from California and as the 36th Vice President of the United States from 1953 to 1961 under...

, against the incumbent Vice President Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Humphrey
Hubert Horatio Humphrey, Jr. , served under President Lyndon B. Johnson as the 38th Vice President of the United States. Humphrey twice served as a United States Senator from Minnesota, and served as Democratic Majority Whip. He was a founder of the Minnesota Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party and...

). The first Presidential election to include neither the incumbent President nor the incumbent Vice President on a major party ticket since 1952 came in 2008 when President George W. Bush had already served two terms and Vice President Cheney chose not to run. Richard Nixon is also the only non-sitting Vice President to be elected President.

Eligibility



The Twelfth Amendment
Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in...

 states that "no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." Thus, to serve as Vice President, an individual must:
  • Be a natural-born
    Natural-born citizen
    Status as a natural-born citizen of the United States is one of the eligibility requirements established in the United States Constitution for election to the office of President or Vice President...

     U.S. citizen
    United States nationality law
    Article I, section 8, clause 4 of the United States Constitution expressly gives the United States Congress the power to establish a uniform rule of naturalization. The Immigration and Naturalization Act sets forth the legal requirements for the acquisition of, and divestiture from, citizenship of...

    ;
  • Be at least 35 years old
  • Have resided in the U.S. at least 14 years.

Disqualifications


Additionally, Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment denies eligibility for any federal office to anyone who, having sworn an oath to support the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

, later has rebelled against the United States. This disqualification, originally aimed at former supporters of the Confederacy, may be removed by a two-thirds vote of each house of the Congress.

Under the Twenty-second Amendment
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for the President of the United States. The Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947...

, the President of the United States may not be elected to more than two terms. However, there is no similar such limitation as to how many times one can be elected Vice President. Scholars disagree whether a former President barred from election to the Presidency is also ineligible to be elected Vice President, as suggested by the Twelfth Amendment. The issue has never been tested in practice.

Also, Article I, Section 3, Clause 7 allows the Senate, upon voting to remove an impeached
Impeachment
Impeachment is a formal process in which an official is accused of unlawful activity, the outcome of which, depending on the country, may include the removal of that official from office as well as other punishment....

 federal official from office, to disqualify that official from holding any federal office.

Residency limitation


While it is commonly held that the President and Vice President must be residents of different states, this is not actually the case. Nothing in the Constitution prohibits both candidates being from a single state. Instead, the limitation imposed is on the members of the Electoral College, who must cast a ballot for at least one candidate who is not from their own state.

In theory, the candidates elected could both be from one state, but the electors of that state would run the risk of denying their vice presidential candidate the absolute majority required to secure the election, even if the presidential candidate is elected. This would then place the vice presidential election in the hands of the Senate.

In practice, however, residency is rarely an issue. Parties have avoided nominating tickets containing two candidates from the same state. Further, the candidates may themselves take action to alleviate any residency conflict. For example, at the start of 2000 election Dick Cheney
Dick Cheney
Richard Bruce "Dick" Cheney served as the 46th Vice President of the United States , under George W. Bush....

 was a resident of Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

, where he was the CEO of Halliburton
Halliburton
Halliburton is the world's second largest oilfield services corporation with operations in more than 70 countries. It has hundreds of subsidiaries, affiliates, branches, brands and divisions worldwide and employs over 50,000 people....

; Cheney quickly changed his residency back to Wyoming
Wyoming
Wyoming is a state in the mountain region of the Western United States. The western two thirds of the state is covered mostly with the mountain ranges and rangelands in the foothills of the Eastern Rocky Mountains, while the eastern third of the state is high elevation prairie known as the High...

, where he had previously served as a U.S. Representative, when Texas governor and Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 presidential nominee George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 asked Cheney to be his vice presidential candidate.

Nominating process


The vice presidential candidates of the major national political parties are formally selected by each party's quadrennial nominating convention, following the selection of the party's presidential candidates. The official process is identical to the one by which the presidential candidates are chosen, with delegates placing the names of candidates into nomination, followed by a ballot in which candidates must receive a majority to secure the party's nomination. In practice, the presidential nominee has considerable influence on the decision, and in the 20th century it became customary for that person to select a preferred running mate, who is then nominated and accepted by the convention. In recent years, with the presidential nomination usually being a foregone conclusion as the result of the primary process, the selection of a vice presidential candidate is often announced prior to the actual balloting for the presidential candidate, and sometimes before the beginning of the convention itself. The first presidential aspirant to announce his selection for Vice President before the beginning of the convention was Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 who, prior to the 1976 Republican National Convention
1976 Republican National Convention
The 1976 National Convention of the Republican Party of the United States met at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri, from August 16 to August 19, 1976. The convention nominated incumbent Gerald Ford for President, but only after narrowly defeating a strong challenge from former California...

 announced that Richard Schweiker
Richard Schweiker
Richard Schultz Schweiker is a former U.S. Congressman and Senator representing the state of Pennsylvania. He later was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President Ronald Reagan.-Early life:...

 would be his running mate. Reagan's supporters then sought to amend the convention rules so that Gerald R. Ford would be required to name his vice presidential running mate in advance as well. The proposal was defeated, and Reagan did not receive the nomination in 1976. Often, the presidential nominee will name a vice presidential candidate who will bring geographic or ideological balance to the ticket or appeal to a particular constituency. The vice presidential candidate might also be chosen on the basis of traits the presidential candidate is perceived to lack, or on the basis of name recognition. To foster party unity, popular runners-up in the presidential nomination process are commonly considered.

The ultimate goal of vice presidential candidate selection is to help and not hurt the party's chances of getting elected. An overly dynamic selection can backfire by outshining the presidential candidate. Classic examples of this came in 1988, when Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis
Michael Dukakis
Michael Stanley Dukakis served as the 65th and 67th Governor of Massachusetts from 1975–1979 and from 1983–1991, and was the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. He was born to Greek immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts, also the birthplace of John F. Kennedy, and was the longest serving...

 chose experienced Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Bentsen
Lloyd Millard Bentsen, Jr. was a four-term United States senator from Texas and the Democratic Party nominee for Vice President in 1988 on the Michael Dukakis ticket. He also served in the House of Representatives from 1949 to 1955. In his later political life, he was Chairman of the Senate...

, and 2008, when Republican candidate John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 picked Alaska Governor Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin
Sarah Louise Palin is an American politician, commentator and author. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Alaskan on the national ticket of a major party and first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency.She was...

. However, Palin also hurt McCain in that after interviews with Katie Couric
Sarah Palin interviews with Katie Couric
The Sarah Palin Interviews with Katie Couric were a series of interviews of the 2008 U.S. Republican vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin conducted by CBS Evening News anchor Katie Couric. They were recorded and broadcast on television in several programs before the 2008 US presidential election....

, there were concerns about her becoming a political liability amid doubts about her fitness to become President should McCain be disabled or die. In these and in other cases the selection was seen to have hurt the nominee. In 1984, Walter Mondale
Walter Mondale
Walter Frederick "Fritz" Mondale is an American Democratic Party politician, who served as the 42nd Vice President of the United States , under President Jimmy Carter, and as a United States Senator for Minnesota...

 picked Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Ferraro
Geraldine Anne Ferraro was an American attorney, a Democratic Party politician, and a member of the United States House of Representatives. She was the first female Vice Presidential candidate representing a major American political party....

 whose nomination became a drag on the ticket due to repeated questions about her husband's finances. Questions about Dan Quayle
Dan Quayle
James Danforth "Dan" Quayle served as the 44th Vice President of the United States, serving with President George H. W. Bush . He served as a U.S. Representative and U.S. Senator from the state of Indiana....

's experience and temperament did not help the 1988 presidential campaign of George H.W. Bush, but he still won. James Stockdale
James Stockdale
Vice Admiral James Bond Stockdale was one of the most highly decorated officers in the history of the United States Navy.Stockdale led aerial attacks from the carrier during the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin Incident...

, the choice of third-party candidate Ross Perot
Ross Perot
Henry Ross Perot is a U.S. businessman best known for running for President of the United States in 1992 and 1996. Perot founded Electronic Data Systems in 1962, sold the company to General Motors in 1984, and founded Perot Systems in 1988...

 in 1992, was seen as incompetent by many, but the Perot-Stockdale ticket still won about 19% of the vote.

The first Presidential candidate to choose his Vice Presidential candidate was President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1940. The last not to name a Vice Presidential choice, leaving the matter up to the convention, was Democrat
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The convention chose Tennessee
Tennessee
Tennessee is a U.S. state located in the Southeastern United States. It has a population of 6,346,105, making it the nation's 17th-largest state by population, and covers , making it the 36th-largest by total land area...

 Senator Estes Kefauver
Estes Kefauver
Carey Estes Kefauver July 26, 1903 – August 10, 1963) was an American politician from Tennessee. A member of the Democratic Party, he served in the U.S...

 over Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 Senator (and later president) John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

. At the tumultuous 1972 Democratic convention, presidential nominee George McGovern
George McGovern
George Stanley McGovern is an historian, author, and former U.S. Representative, U.S. Senator, and the Democratic Party nominee in the 1972 presidential election....

 selected Senator Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Eagleton
Thomas Francis Eagleton was a United States Senator from Missouri, serving from 1968–1987. He is best remembered for briefly being the Democratic vice presidential nominee under George McGovern in 1972...

 as his running mate, but numerous other candidates were either nominated from the floor or received votes during the balloting. Eagleton nevertheless received a majority of the votes and the nomination, though he later resigned from the ticket, resulting in Robert Sargent Shriver
Sargent Shriver
Robert Sargent Shriver, Jr., known as Sargent Shriver, R. Sargent Shriver, or, from childhood, Sarge, was an American statesman and activist. As the husband of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, he was part of the Kennedy family, serving in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations...

 becoming McGovern's final running mate; both lost to the Nixon-Agnew ticket by a wide margin, carrying only Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

In cases where the presidential nomination is still in doubt as the convention approaches, the campaigns for the two positions may become intertwined. In 1976, Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

, who was trailing President Gerald R. Ford in the presidential delegate count, announced prior to the Republican National Convention that, if nominated, he would select Senator Richard Schweiker
Richard Schweiker
Richard Schultz Schweiker is a former U.S. Congressman and Senator representing the state of Pennsylvania. He later was Secretary of Health and Human Services in the Cabinet of President Ronald Reagan.-Early life:...

 as his running mate. This move backfired to a degree, as Schweiker's relatively liberal voting record alienated many of the more conservative delegates who were considering a challenge to party delegate selection rules to improve Reagan's chances. In the end, Ford narrowly won the presidential nomination and Reagan's selection of Schweiker became moot.

Election, oath, and tenure


Vice Presidents are elected indirectly
Indirect election
Indirect election is a process in which voters in an election don't actually choose between candidates for an office but rather elect persons who will then make the choice. It is one of the oldest form of elections and is still used today for many upper houses and presidents...

 in the United States. A number of electors, collectively known as the Electoral College, officially select the President. On Election Day
Election Day (United States)
Election Day in the United States is the day set by law for the general elections of public officials. It occurs on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The earliest possible date is November 2 and the latest possible date is November 8...

, voters in each of the states and the District of Columbia
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....

 cast ballots for these electors. Each state is allocated a number of electors, equal to the size of its delegation in both Houses of Congress combined. Generally, the ticket that wins the most votes in a state wins all of that state's electoral votes and thus has its slate of electors chosen to vote in the Electoral College.

The winning slate of electors meet at its state's capital on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, about six weeks after the election, to vote. They then send a record of that vote to Congress. The vote of the electors is opened by the sitting Vice President, acting in his capacity as President of the Senate and read aloud to a joint session
Joint session of the United States Congress
Joint sessions of the United States Congress are the gatherings together of both houses of the United States Congress...

 of the incoming Congress, which was elected at the same time as the President.


Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment
Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twentieth Amendment to the United States Constitution establishes the beginning and ending of the terms of the elected federal offices. It also deals with scenarios in which there is no President-elect...

, the Vice President's term of office begins at noon on January 20 of the year following the election. This date, known as Inauguration Day, marks the beginning of the four-year terms of both the President and Vice President.

Although Article VI requires that the Vice-President take an oath or affirmation of allegiance to the US Constitution, unlike the President, the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

 does not specify the precise wording of the oath of office
Oath of office
An oath of office is an oath or affirmation a person takes before undertaking the duties of an office, usually a position in government or within a religious body, although such oaths are sometimes required of officers of other organizations...

 for the Vice President. Several variants of the oath have been used since 1789; the current form, which is also recited by Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

, Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 and other government officers, has been used since 1884:
The term of office for Vice President is four years. While the Twenty-Second Amendment
Twenty-second Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twenty-second Amendment of the United States Constitution sets a term limit for the President of the United States. The Congress passed the amendment on March 21, 1947...

 generally restricts the President to two terms, there is no similar limitation on the office of Vice President, meaning an eligible person could hold the office as long as voters continued to vote for electors who in turn would renew the Vice President's tenure. A Vice President could even serve under different administrations, as George Clinton
George Clinton (vice president)
George Clinton was an American soldier and politician, considered one of the Founding Fathers of the United States. He was the first Governor of New York, and then the fourth Vice President of the United States , serving under Presidents Thomas Jefferson and James Madison. He and John C...

 and John C. Calhoun
John C. Calhoun
John Caldwell Calhoun was a leading politician and political theorist from South Carolina during the first half of the 19th century. Calhoun eloquently spoke out on every issue of his day, but often changed positions. Calhoun began his political career as a nationalist, modernizer, and proponent...

 have done.

Original election process and reform


Under the original terms of the Constitution, the electors of the Electoral College voted only for office of President rather than for both President and Vice President. Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for the top office. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided that such a number was a majority of electors) would be President, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became Vice President. If no one received a majority of votes, then the House of Representatives
United States House of Representatives
The United States House of Representatives is one of the two Houses of the United States Congress, the bicameral legislature which also includes the Senate.The composition and powers of the House are established in Article One of the Constitution...

 would choose among the five highest vote-getters, with each state getting one vote. In such a case, the person who received the highest number of votes but was not chosen President would become Vice President. In the case of a tie for second, then the Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 would choose the Vice President.

The original plan, however, did not foresee the development of political parties
Political parties in the United States
This article presents the historical development and role of political parties in United States politics, and outlines more extensively the significant modern political parties. Throughout most of its history, American politics have been dominated by a two-party system...

 and their adversarial role in the government. In the election of 1796
United States presidential election, 1796
The United States presidential election of 1796 was the first contested American presidential election and the only one in which a president and vice- president were elected from opposing tickets...

, for instance, Federalist John Adams
John Adams
John Adams was an American lawyer, statesman, diplomat and political theorist. A leading champion of independence in 1776, he was the second President of the United States...

 came in first, but because the Federalist electors divided their second vote amongst several Vice Presidential candidates, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 came second. Thus, the President and Vice President were from opposing parties. Predictably, Adams and Jefferson clashed over issues such as states's rights and foreign policy.

A greater problem occurred in the election of 1800
United States presidential election, 1800
In the United States Presidential election of 1800, sometimes referred to as the "Revolution of 1800," Vice-President Thomas Jefferson defeated President John Adams. The election was a realigning election that ushered in a generation of Democratic-Republican Party rule and the eventual demise of...

, in which the two participating parties each had a secondary candidate they intended to elect as Vice President, but the more popular Democratic-Republican party failed to execute that plan with their electoral votes. Under the system in place at the time (Article II, Section 1, Clause 3), the electors could not differentiate between their two candidates, so the plan had been for one elector to vote for Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Jefferson was the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence and the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom , the third President of the United States and founder of the University of Virginia...

 but not for Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr
Aaron Burr, Jr. was an important political figure in the early history of the United States of America. After serving as a Continental Army officer in the Revolutionary War, Burr became a successful lawyer and politician...

, thus putting Burr in second place. This plan broke down for reasons that are disputed, and both candidates received the same number of votes. After 35 deadlocked ballots in the House of Representatives, Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot and Burr became Vice President.

This tumultuous affair led to the adoption of the Twelfth Amendment
Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution
The Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution provides the procedure for electing the President and Vice President. It replaced Article II, Section 1, Clause 3, which provided the original procedure by which the Electoral College functioned. Problems with the original procedure arose in...

 in 1804, which directed the electors to use separate ballots to vote for the President and Vice President. While this solved the problem at hand, it ultimately had the effect of lowering the prestige of the Vice Presidency, as the office was no longer for the leading challenger for the Presidency.

The separate ballots for President and Vice President became something of a moot issue later in the 19th century when it became the norm for popular elections to determine a state's Electoral College delegation. Electors chosen this way are pledged to vote for a particular presidential and vice presidential candidate (offered by the same political party). So, while the Constitution says that the President and Vice President are chosen separately, in practice they are chosen together.

If no vice presidential candidate receives an Electoral College majority, then the Senate selects the Vice President, in accordance with the United States Constitution
United States Constitution
The Constitution of the United States is the supreme law of the United States of America. It is the framework for the organization of the United States government and for the relationship of the federal government with the states, citizens, and all people within the United States.The first three...

. This could in theory lead to a situation in which the incumbent Vice President - in his role as President of the Senate - would be called upon to give his tie-breaking vote for himself or his successor. The election of 1836 is the only election so far where the office of the Vice President has been decided by the Senate. During the campaign, Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren
Martin Van Buren was the eighth President of the United States . Before his presidency, he was the eighth Vice President and the tenth Secretary of State, under Andrew Jackson ....

's running mate Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson
Richard Mentor Johnson was the ninth Vice President of the United States, serving in the administration of Martin Van Buren . He was the only vice-president ever elected by the United States Senate under the provisions of the Twelfth Amendment. Johnson also represented Kentucky in the U.S...

 was accused of having lived with a black woman. Virginia's 23 electors, who were pledged to Van Buren and Johnson, refused to vote for Johnson (but still voted for Van Buren). The election went to the Senate, where Johnson was elected 33-17.

Salary


The Vice President's salary is $230,700. The salary was set by the 1989 Government Salary Reform Act, which also provides an automatic cost of living adjustment for federal employees.

The Vice President does not automatically receive a pension based on that office, but instead receives the same pension as other members of Congress based on his position as president of the Senate. The Vice President must serve a minimum of five years to qualify for a pension.

Since 1974, the official residence of the Vice President and his family has been Number One Observatory Circle
Number One Observatory Circle
Number One Observatory Circle is the official residence of the Vice President of the United States.Located on the northeast grounds of the United States Naval Observatory in Washington, DC, the house was built in 1893 for its superintendent. The Chief of Naval Operations liked the house so much...

, on the grounds of the United States Naval Observatory
United States Naval Observatory
The United States Naval Observatory is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the United States, with a primary mission to produce Positioning, Navigation, and Timing for the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Department of Defense...

 in Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C.
Washington, D.C., formally the District of Columbia and commonly referred to as Washington, "the District", or simply D.C., is the capital of the United States. On July 16, 1790, the United States Congress approved the creation of a permanent national capital as permitted by the U.S. Constitution....


Vacancy