Vice President of the United States

Vice President of the
United States of America
US Vice President Seal.svg
Flag of the Vice President of the United States.svg
Kamala Harris Vice Presidential Portrait.jpg
Kamala Harris

since January 20, 2021
United States Senate
Executive branch of the U.S. government
Office of the Vice President
StyleMadam Vice President
The Honorable
Madam President
(within the Senate)
Her Excellency
StatusSecond highest executive branch officer
President of the Senate
Member ofCabinet
National Security Council
National Space Council
National Economic Council
ResidenceNumber One Observatory Circle
SeatWashington, D.C.
AppointerElectoral College, or, if vacant, President via Congressional confirmation
Term lengthFour years, no term limit
Constituting instrumentConstitution of the United States
FormationMarch 4, 1789
(232 years ago)
First holderJohn Adams[3]
Unofficial namesVPOTUS,[5] VP, Veep[6]
Salary$235,100 annually

The vice president of the United States (VPOTUS) is the second-highest officer in the executive branch[7][8] of the U.S. federal government, after the president of the United States, and ranks first in the presidential line of succession. The vice president is also an officer in the legislative branch, as the president of the Senate. In this capacity, the vice president is empowered to preside over Senate deliberations at any time, but may not vote except to cast a tie-breaking vote.[9] The vice president is indirectly elected together with the president to a four-year term of office by the people of the United States through the Electoral College.[9]

The modern vice presidency is a position of significant power and is widely seen as an integral part of a president's administration. While the exact nature of the role varies in each administration, most modern vice presidents serve as a key presidential advisor, governing partner, and representative of the president. The vice president is also a statutory member of the National Security Council[9] and thus plays a significant role in national security matters. As the vice president's role within the executive branch has expanded, the legislative branch role has contracted; for example, vice presidents now preside over the Senate only infrequently.[10]

The role of the vice presidency has changed dramatically since the office was created during the 1787 Constitutional Convention. Originally something of an afterthought, the vice presidency was considered an insignificant office for much of the nation's history, especially after the Twelfth Amendment meant that vice presidents were no longer the runners-up in the presidential election. The vice president's role began steadily growing in importance during the 1930s, with the Office of the Vice President being created in the executive branch in 1939, and has since grown much further. Due to its increase in power and prestige, the vice presidency is now often considered to be a stepping stone to the presidency. Since the 1970s, the vice president has been afforded an official residence at Number One Observatory Circle.

The Constitution does not expressly assign the vice presidency to a branch of the government, causing a dispute among scholars about which branch the office belongs to (the executive, the legislative, both, or neither).[10][11] The modern view of the vice president as an officer of the executive branch—one isolated almost totally from the legislative branch—is due in large part to the assignment of executive authority to the vice president by either the president or Congress.[10][12] Nevertheless, modern vice presidents have often previously served in Congress, and are often tasked with helping to advance an administration's legislative priorities.

Kamala Harris is the 49th and current vice president of the United States. She is the first African American, first Asian American, and first female occupant of the office. She assumed office on January 20, 2021.

  1. ^ Maier, Pauline (2010). Ratification: The People Debate the Constitution, 1787–1788. New York, New York: Simon & Schuster. p. 433. ISBN 978-0-684-86854-7.
  2. ^ "March 4: A forgotten huge day in American history". Philadelphia: National Constitution Center. March 4, 2013. Archived from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved July 24, 2018.
  3. ^ Smith, Page (1962). John Adams. Volume Two 1784–1826. Garden City, New York: Doubleday. p. 744. |volume= has extra text (help)
  4. ^ Feerick, John. "Essays on Amendment XXV: Presidential Succession". The Heritage Guide to the Constitution. The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2018.
  5. ^ "VPOTUS". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on January 25, 2021. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  6. ^ "Veep". Merriam-Webster. Archived from the original on October 14, 2020. Retrieved February 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Weinberg, Steve (October 14, 2014). "'The American Vice Presidency' sketches all 47 men who held America's second-highest office". The Christian Science Monitor. Archived from the original on October 6, 2019. Retrieved October 6, 2019.
  8. ^ "Vice President". n.d. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2019. The Vice President of the United States is the second highest executive officer of the United States government, after the President.
  9. ^ a b c "Executive Branch: Vice President". The US Legal System. U.S. Legal Support. Archived from the original on October 25, 2012. Retrieved February 20, 2018.
  10. ^ a b c Garvey, Todd (2008). "A Constitutional Anomaly: Safeguarding Confidential National Security Information Within the Enigma That Is the American Vice Presidency". William & Mary Bill of Rights Journal. Williamsburg, Virginia: William & Mary Law School Scholarship Repository. 17 (2): 565–605. Archived from the original on July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
  11. ^ Brownell II, Roy E. (Fall 2014). "A Constitutional Chameleon: The Vice President's Place within the American System of Separation of Powers Part I: Text, Structure, Views of the Framers and the Courts" (PDF). Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy. 24 (1): 1–77. Archived (PDF) from the original on December 30, 2017. Retrieved July 27, 2018.
  12. ^ Goldstein, Joel K. (1995). "The New Constitutional Vice Presidency". Wake Forest Law Review. Winston Salem, NC: Wake Forest Law Review Association, Inc. 30: 505. Archived from the original on July 16, 2018. Retrieved July 16, 2018.

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