The Vice President of the United States is a position of public office that is created and upheld by the United States Constitution. The Vice President is indirectly elected through the Electoral College. Along with the President, the Vice President is elected to serve a four year term and is essentially next in line to take the presidential role in the case of resignation, death or removal of the current president. The roles of the Vice President are tightly restricted by the constitution. So what does the Vice President do? Read this article to find out.
What does the Vice President do?
The Vice President has two primary roles. The first role that the Vice President has is to step into the presidency if the current President is unable to complete his term of office. This occurs only in special cases such as death, resignation, medical impairment or removal of the president.
The second role that the Vice President has is to preside over the U.S Senate. In this role the Vice President has the duties of casting a vote to end a deadlock in the senate and certifying the vote count from the Electoral College. By casting a vote the Vice President can give the majority to a particular political house in the senate allowing bills to pass. The Vice President is given no other responsibilities by the constitution in the senate. They are not permitted to be part of senate debate or address the senate. Vice Presidents are solely responsible for procedural matters within the senate and in modern times they are usually not part of the day to day running of the senate. A President pro tempore (or “president for a time”) is usually elected by the senate to perform any Vice Presidential duties in their absence.
During a presidential election year the Vice President, as the president of the senate, is called on to certify and officiate the counting of the votes done by the Electoral College. The results of these votes are read out on January 6th in the presence of both houses of congress. It is at this time that the new President of the United States is announced to the Congress.
Other informal roles are given to the Vice President based on their relationship with the President. Many presidents seek the advice of their Vice President on various issues. Often Vice Presidents are sent to state and international events when the president has other engagements. Vice Presidents are often the spokesperson on the administration policies and party lines.
Did you know?
Only four US Vice Presidents have announced their own election as President, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, and George H. W. Bush. Most have had to announce the election of their opponent to the position.