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Vice President of the United States

For a list of officeholders, see List of vice presidents of the United States.

The vice president of the United States (VPOTUS) is the second-highest officer in the executive branch 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. 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.

Vice President of the
United States of America
Incumbent
Kamala Harris

since January 20, 2021
United States Senate
Executive branch of the U.S. government
Office of the Vice President
StyleMadam Vice President
(informal)
The Honorable
(formal)
Madam President
(within the Senate)
Her Excellency
(diplomatic)
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)
(1789-03-04)
First holderJohn Adams
SuccessionFirst
Unofficial namesVPOTUS, VP, Veep
Salary$235,100 annually
Websitewww.whitehouse.gov

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 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.

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). 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. 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.

Contents

Constitutional Convention

No mention of an office of vice president was made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention until near the end, when an eleven-member committee on "Leftover Business" proposed a method of electing the chief executive (president). Delegates had previously considered the selection of the Senate's presiding officer, deciding that "the Senate shall choose its own President," and had agreed that this official would be designated the executive's immediate successor. They had also considered the mode of election of the executive but had not reached consensus. This all changed on September 4, when the committee recommended that the nation's chief executive be elected by an Electoral College, with each state having a number of presidential electors equal to the sum of that state's allocation of representatives and senators.

Recognizing that loyalty to one's individual state outweighed loyalty to the new federation, the Constitution's framers assumed individual electors would be inclined to choose a candidate from their own state (a so-called "favorite son" candidate) over one from another state. So they created the office of vice president and required the electors to vote for two candidates, at least one of whom must be from outside the elector's state, believing that the second vote would be cast for a candidate of national character. Additionally, to guard against the possibility that electors might strategically waste their second votes, it was specified that the first runner-up would become vice president.

The resultant method of electing the president and vice president, spelled out in ArticleII, Section1, Clause3, allocated to each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate and House of Representatives membership. Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for president (rather than for both president and vice president), but could not differentiate between their first and second choice for the presidency. The person receiving the greatest number of votes (provided it was an absolute majority of the whole number of electors) would be president, while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president. If there were a tie for first or for second place, or if no one won a majority of votes, the president and vice president would be selected by means of contingent elections protocols stated in the clause.

Early vice presidents and Twelfth Amendment

John Adams, the first vice president of the United States

The first two vice presidents, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson, both of whom gained the office by virtue of being runners-up in presidential contests, presided regularly over Senate proceedings and did much to shape the role of Senate president. Several 19th-century vice presidents—such as George Dallas, Levi Morton, and Garret Hobart—followed their example and led effectively, while others were rarely present.

The emergence of political parties and nationally coordinated election campaigns during the 1790s (which the Constitution's framers had not contemplated) quickly frustrated the election plan in the original Constitution. In the election of 1796, Federalist John Adams won the presidency, but his bitter rival, Democratic-Republican Thomas Jefferson came second and became vice president. Thus, the president and vice president were from opposing parties; and Jefferson used the vice presidency to frustrate the president's policies. Then, four years later, in the election of 1800, Jefferson, and fellow Democratic-Republican Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes. In the contingent election that followed, Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot, and Burr became vice president. Afterward, the system was overhauled through the Twelfth Amendment in time to be used in the 1804 election.

19th and early 20th centuries

For much of its existence, the office of vice president was seen as little more than a minor position. John Adams, the first vice president, was the first of many frustrated by the "complete insignificance" of the office. To his wife Abigail Adams he wrote, "My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man... or his imagination contrived or his imagination conceived; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I must be borne away by others and met the common fate." John Nance Garner, who served as vice president from 1933 to 1941 under President Franklin D. Roosevelt, claimed that the vice presidency "isn't worth a pitcher of warm piss". Harry Truman, who also served as vice president under Roosevelt, said the office was as "useful as a cow's fifth teat". Walter Bagehot remarked in The English Constitution that "[t]he framers of the Constitution expected that the vice-president would be elected by the Electoral College as the second wisest man in the country. The vice-presidentship being a sinecure, a second-rate man agreeable to the wire-pullers is always smuggled in. The chance of succession to the presidentship is too distant to be thought of."

When the Whig Party asked Daniel Webster to run for the vice presidency on Zachary Taylor's ticket, he replied "I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead and in my coffin." This was the second time Webster declined the office, which William Henry Harrison had first offered to him. Ironically, both the presidents making the offer to Webster died in office, meaning the three-time candidate would have become president had he accepted either. Since presidents rarely die in office, however, the better preparation for the presidency was considered to be the office of Secretary of State, in which Webster served under Harrison, Tyler, and later, Taylor's successor, Fillmore.

In the first hundred years of the United States' existence no fewer than seven proposals to abolish the office of vice president were advanced. The first such constitutional amendment was presented by Samuel W. Dana in 1800; it was defeated by a vote of 27 to 85 in the United States House of Representatives. The second, introduced by United States Senator James Hillhouse in 1808, was also defeated. During the late 1860s and 1870s, five additional amendments were proposed. One advocate, James Mitchell Ashley, opined that the office of vice president was "superfluous" and dangerous.

Garret Hobart, the first vice president under William McKinley, was one of the very few vice presidents at this time who played an important role in the administration. A close confidant and adviser of the president, Hobart was called "Assistant President". However, until 1919, vice presidents were not included in meetings of the President's Cabinet. This precedent was broken by President Woodrow Wilson when he asked Thomas R. Marshall to preside over Cabinet meetings while Wilson was in France negotiating the Treaty of Versailles. President Warren G. Harding also invited his vice president, Calvin Coolidge, to meetings. The next vice president, Charles G. Dawes, did not seek to attend Cabinet meetings under President Coolidge, declaring that "the precedent might prove injurious to the country." Vice President Charles Curtis was also precluded from attending by President Herbert Hoover.

Thomas R. Marshall, the 28th vice president, lamented: "Once there were two brothers. One ran away to sea; the other was elected Vice President of the United States. And nothing was heard of either of them again." His successor, Calvin Coolidge, was so obscure that Major League Baseball sent him free passes that misspelled his name, and a fire marshal failed to recognize him when Coolidge's Washington residence was evacuated.

Emergence of the modern vice presidency

Though prominent as a Missouri Senator, Harry Truman had been vice president only three months when he became president; he was never informed of Franklin Roosevelt's war or postwar policies while vice president.

In 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt raised the stature of the office by renewing the practice of inviting the vice president to cabinet meetings, which every president since has maintained. Roosevelt's first vice president, John Nance Garner, broke with him over the "court-packing" issue early in his second term, and became Roosevelt's leading critic. At the start of that term, on January 20, 1937, Garner had been the first vice president to be sworn into office on the Capitol steps in the same ceremony with the president, a tradition that continues. Prior to that time, vice presidents were traditionally inaugurated at a separate ceremony in the Senate chamber. Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller, who were each appointed to the office under the terms of the 25th Amendment, were inaugurated in the House and Senate chambers respectively.

Henry Wallace, Roosevelt's vice president during his third term (1941–1945), was given major responsibilities during World War II. However, after numerous policy disputes between Wallace and other Roosevelt Administration and Democratic Party officials, he was denied renomination to office at the 1944 Democratic National Convention. Harry Truman was selected instead. During his 82-day vice presidency, Truman was not informed about any war or post-war plans, including the Manhattan Project, leading Truman to remark, wryly, that the job of the vice president was to "go to weddings and funerals".[citation needed] As a result of this experience, Truman, after succeeding to the presidency upon Roosevelt's death, recognized the need to keep the vice president informed on national security issues. Congress made the vice president one of four statutory members of the National Security Council in 1949.

The stature of the vice presidency grew again while Richard Nixon was in office (1953–1961). He attracted the attention of the media and the Republican Party, when Dwight Eisenhower authorized him to preside at Cabinet meetings in his absence. Nixon was also the first vice president to formally assume temporary control of the executive branch, which he did after Eisenhower suffered a heart attack on September 24, 1955, ileitis in June 1956, and a stroke in November 1957.

Until 1961, vice presidents had their offices on Capitol Hill, a formal office in the Capitol itself and a working office in the Russell Senate Office Building. Lyndon B. Johnson was the first vice president to be given an office in the White House complex, in the Old Executive Office Building. The former Navy Secretary's office in the OEOB has since been designated the "Ceremonial Office of the Vice President" and is today used for formal events and press interviews. President Jimmy Carter was the first president to give his vice president, Walter Mondale, an office in the West Wing of the White House, which all vice presidents have since retained. Because of their function as President of the Senate, vice presidents still maintain offices and staff members on Capitol Hill.

Though Walter Mondale's tenure was the beginning of the modern-day power of the vice presidency, the tenure of Dick Cheney saw a rapid growth in the office of the vice president. Vice President Cheney held a tremendous amount of power and frequently made policy decisions on his own, without the knowledge of the president. During the 2008 presidential campaign, both vice presidential candidates, Sarah Palin and Joe Biden, said the office had expanded too much under Cheney's tenure; both said they would reduce the role to simply being an adviser to the president. This rapid growth has led to calls for abolition of the vice presidency from various constitutional scholars and political commentators such as Matthew Yglesias and Bruce Ackerman.

Stepping stone to the presidency

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In addition to the nine vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency intra-term—four of whom subsequently won election to a full term—six became president after serving one or more full terms as vice president, namely: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Joe Biden. Of these, two—Adams and Jefferson—held the office in the pre-Twelfth Amendment era when vice presidents were the runners-up in the presidential election, and three—Nixon, Bush and Biden—are from the modern era of growing vice presidential power. All but Nixon and Biden went directly from one office to the other.

In recent decades, the vice presidency has frequently been used as a platform 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 presidential 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 13 presidential elections from 1956 to 2004, nine featured the incumbent president and the other four featured the incumbent vice president as a presidential candidate: 1960 (Richard Nixon); 1968 (Hubert Humphrey); 1988 (George H. W. Bush); 2000 (Al Gore). Three presidential elections since the 1960s have featured a former vice president as a presidential candidate: 1968 (Richard Nixon); 1984 (Walter Mondale); 2020 (Joe Biden).

Although delegates to the constitutional convention approved establishing the office, with both its executive and senatorial functions, not many understood the office, and so they gave the vice president few duties and little power. Only a few states had an analogous position. Among those that did, New York's constitution provided that "the lieutenant-governor shall, by virtue of his office, be president of the Senate, and, upon an equal division, have a casting voice in their decisions, but not vote on any other occasion." As a result, the vice presidency originally had authority in only a few areas, although constitutional amendments have added or clarified some matters.

President of the United States Senate

Article I, Section 3, Clause 4 confers upon the vice president the title president of the Senate and authorizes them to preside over Senate meetings. In this capacity, the vice president is responsible for maintaining order and decorum, recognizing members to speak, and interpreting the Senate's rules, practices, and precedent. With this position also comes the authority to cast a tie-breaking vote. In practice, the number of times vice presidents have exercised this right has varied greatly. John C. Calhoun holds the record at 31 votes, followed closely by John Adams with 29. During his first year in office (through January 24, 2018), Mike Pence cast eight tie-breaking votes; his predecessor, Joe Biden, did not cast any during his eight years in office.

As the framers of the Constitution anticipated that the vice president would not always be available to fulfill this responsibility, the Constitution provides that the Senate may elect a president pro tempore (or "president for a time") in order to maintain the proper ordering of the legislative process. In practice, since the early 20th century, the president of the Senate rarely presides, nor does the president pro tempore. Instead, the president pro tempore regularly delegates the task to other Senate members. 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, Time magazine wrote in 1925, during the tenure of Vice President Charles G. Dawes, "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."

President of impeachment trials

In their capacity as president of the Senate, the vice president may preside over most impeachment trials of federal officers, although the Constitution does not specifically require it. However, whenever the president of the United States is on trial, the Constitution requires that the chief justice of the United States must preside. This stipulation was designed to avoid the possible conflict of interest in having the vice president preside over the trial for the removal of the one official standing between them and the presidency. In contrast, it is not stipulated which federal official presides when the vice president is tried; thus leaving it unclear whether an impeached vice president could, as President of the Senate, preside at his or her own impeachment trial. The Constitution is silent on the issue.

President of electoral vote counts

The Twelfth Amendment provides that the vice president, in their capacity as President of the Senate, receives the Electoral College votes, and then, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, opens the sealed votes. The votes are counted during a joint session of Congress as prescribed by the Electoral Count Act, which also specifies that the president of the Senate presides over the joint session. The next such joint session will next take place following the 2024 presidential election, on January 6, 2025 (unless Congress sets a different date by law).

In this capacity, four vice presidents have been able to announce their own election to the presidency: John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Martin Van Buren, and George H. W. Bush. Conversely, John C. Breckinridge, in 1861, Richard Nixon, in 1961, and Al Gore, in 2001, all had to announce their opponent's election. In 1969, Vice President Hubert Humphrey would have done so as well, following his 1968 loss to Richard Nixon; however, on the date of the Congressional joint session, Humphrey was in Norway attending the funeral of Trygve Lie, the first elected Secretary-General of the United Nations. The president pro tempore, Richard Russell, presided in his absence. On February 8, 1933, Vice President Charles Curtis announced the election of his successor, House Speaker John Nance Garner, while Garner was seated next to him on the House dais. Most recently, on January 6, 2021, Vice President Mike Pence announced the election of his successor, Kamala Harris.

Successor to the U.S. president

1888 illustration of John Tyler receiving the news of President William Henry Harrison's death from Chief Clerk of the State Department Fletcher Webster

Article II, Section 1, Clause 6 stipulates that the vice president takes over the "powers and duties" of the presidency in the event of a president's removal, death, resignation, or inability. Even so, it does not clearly state whether the vice president became the president of the United States or simply acted as president in a case of succession. Debate records from the 1787 Constitutional Convention, along with various participants' later writings on the subject, show that the framers of the Constitution intended that the vice president would temporarily exercise the powers and duties of the office in the event of a president's death, disability or removal, but not actually become the president of the United States in their own right.

This understanding was first tested in 1841, following the death of President William Henry Harrison, only 31 days into his term. Harrison's vice president, John Tyler, asserted that he had succeeded to the office of president, not just to its powers and duties. He took the presidential oath of office, and declined to acknowledge documents referring to him as "Acting President". Although some in Congress denounced Tyler's claim as a violation of the Constitution, he adhered to his position. Tyler's view ultimately prevailed when the Senate and House voted to acknowledge him as president, setting a momentous precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power following a president's death, one made explicit by Section1 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967. In total, nine vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency intra-term. In addition to Tyler, they are Millard Fillmore, Andrew Johnson, Chester A. Arthur, Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Lyndon B. Johnson, and Gerald Ford.

Acting president

Sections 3 and 4 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provide for situations where the president is temporarily unable to lead, such as if the president has a surgical procedure, becomes seriously ill or injured, or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers or duties of the presidency. Section3 deals with self-declared incapacity, and Section4 addresses incapacity declared by the joint action of the vice president and of a majority of the Cabinet. While Section4 has never been invoked, Section3 has been invoked on three occasions by two presidents. President Ronald Reagan did so once, on July 13, 1985, before undergoing surgery—Vice President George H. W. Bush was acting president for approximately eight hours. President George W. Bush did so twice, on June 29, 2002, and July 21, 2007, prior to undergoing medical procedures, which were done under sedation—Vice President Dick Cheney was acting president for approximately two hours on each occasion.

Sections 3 and 4 were added because there was ambiguity in the ArticleII succession clause regarding a disabled president, including what constituted an "inability", who determined the existence of an inability, and if a vice president became president for the rest of the presidential term in the case of an inability or became merely "acting president". During the 19th and first half of the 20th century several presidents experienced periods of severe illness, physical disability or injury, some lasting for weeks or months. During these times, even though the nation needed effective presidential leadership, no vice president wanted to seem like a usurper, and so power was never transferred. After President Dwight D. Eisenhower openly addressed his health issues and made it a point to enter into an agreement with Vice President Richard Nixon that provided for Nixon to act on his behalf if Eisenhower became unable to provide effective presidential leadership (Nixon did informally assume some of the president's duties for several weeks on each of three occasions when Eisenhower was ill), discussions began in Congress about clearing up the Constitution's ambiguity on the subject.

The present-day power of the office flows primarily from formal and informal delegations of authority from the president and Congress. These delegations can vary in significance; for example, the vice president is a statutory member of both the National Security Council and the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution. The extent of the 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 these roles depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the particular administration.

Presidential advisor

Then-Vice President Joe Biden meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, 2010

Most recent vice presidents have been viewed as important presidential advisors. Walter Mondale wrote President Jimmy Carter a memo following the 1976 election stating his belief that his most important role would be as a "general adviser" to the president. Al Gore was an important adviser to President Bill Clinton on matters of foreign policy and the environment. Dick Cheney was widely regarded as one of President George W. Bush's closest confidants. Joe Biden asked President Barack Obama to let him always be the "last person in the room" when a big decision was made and to have a weekly lunch with the president; later, as president himself, Biden would adopt this model with his own vice president, Kamala Harris.

Governing partner

Recent vice presidents have been delegated authority by presidents to handle significant issue areas independently. Joe Biden, who both held the office himself and selected a candidate for it as his running mate, has observed that the presidency is "too big anymore for any one man or woman". Dick Cheney was considered to hold a tremendous amount of power and frequently made policy decisions on his own, without the knowledge of the president. Biden was assigned by Barack Obama to oversee Iraq policy; Obama was said to have said, "Joe, you do Iraq." In February 2020, Donald Trump appointed Mike Pence to lead his response to COVID-19 and, upon his ascension to the presidency, Biden put Kamala Harris in charge of controlling migration at the US-Mexico border.

Congressional liaison

The vice president is often an important liaison between the administration and Congress, especially in situations where the president has not previously served in Congress or served only briefly. Vice presidents are often selected as running mates in part due to their legislative relationships, notably including Richard Nixon, Lyndon Johnson, Walter Mondale, Dick Cheney, Joe Biden, and Mike Pence among others. In recent years, Dick Cheney held weekly meetings in the Vice President's Room at the United States Capitol, Joe Biden played a key role in bipartisan budget negotiations, and Mike Pence often met with House and Senate Republicans. Kamala Harris, the current vice president, presides over a 50–50 split Senate, potentially providing her with a key role in passing bills.

Representative at events

Under the American system of government the president is both head of state and head of government, and the ceremonial duties of the former position are often delegated to the vice president. The vice president will on occasion represent the president and the U.S. government at state funerals abroad, or at various events in the United States. This often is the most visible role of the vice president. The vice president may also meet with other heads of state at times when the administration wishes to demonstrate concern or support but cannot send the president personally.

National Security Council member

Since 1949, the vice president has legally been a member of the National Security Council. Harry Truman, having not been told about any war or post-war plans during his vice presidency (notably the Manhattan Project), recognized that upon assuming the presidency a vice president needed to be already informed on such issues. Modern vice presidents have also been included in the president's daily intelligence briefings and frequently participate in meetings in the Situation Room with the president.

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Eligibility

To be constitutionally eligible to serve as the nation's vice president, a person must, according to the Twelfth Amendment, meet the eligibility requirements to become president (which are stated in ArticleII, Section1, Clause5). Thus, to serve as vice president, an individual must:

A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of vice president under the following conditions:

  • Under ArticleI, Section3, Clause7, upon conviction in impeachment cases, the Senate has the option of disqualifying convicted individuals from holding federal office, including that of vice president;
  • Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment, no person who has sworn an oath to support the Constitution, who has later gone to war against the United States, or given aid and comfort to the nation's enemies can serve in a state or federal office—including as vice president. 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 Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution, "...no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States."

Nomination

Geraldine Ferraro speaks at the 1984 Democratic National Convention following her selection as the party's vice presidential nominee

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 candidate. 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 candidate to choose his vice presidential candidate was Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1940. The last not to name a vice presidential choice, leaving the matter up to the convention, was Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956. The convention chose Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver over Massachusetts Senator (and later president) John F. Kennedy. At the tumultuous 1972 Democratic convention, presidential nominee George McGovern selected Senator Thomas Eagleton 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 Sargent Shriver 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.

During times in a presidential election cycle before the identity of the presidential nominee is clear, including cases where the presidential nomination is still in doubt as the convention approaches, campaigns for the two positions may become intertwined. In 1976, Ronald Reagan, who was trailing President Gerald Ford in the presidential delegate count, announced prior to the Republican National Convention that, if nominated, he would select Senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate. Reagan was the first presidential aspirant to announce his selection for vice president before the beginning of the convention. Reagan's supporters then unsuccessfully sought to amend the convention rules so that Gerald Ford would be required to name his vice presidential running mate in advance as well. 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.

In the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries which pitted Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama, Clinton suggested a Clinton–Obama ticket with Obama in the vice president slot as it would be "unstoppable" against the presumptive Republican nominee. Obama rejected the offer outright, saying, "I want everybody to be absolutely clear. I'm not running for vice president. I'm running for president of the United States of America" while noting "With all due respect. I won twice as many states as Senator Clinton. I've won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton. I have more delegates than Senator Clinton. So, I don't know how somebody who's in second place is offering vice presidency to the person who's in first place." Obama said the nomination process would have to be a choice between himself and Clinton, saying "I don't want anybody here thinking that 'Somehow, maybe I can get both,'" by nominating Clinton and assuming he would be her running mate. Some suggested that it was a ploy by the Clinton campaign to denigrate Obama as less qualified for the presidency.[failed verification] Later, when Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee, former president Jimmy Carter cautioned against Clinton being picked for the vice president slot on the ticket, saying "I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made. That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates," citing opinion polls showing 50% of US voters with a negative view of Hillary Clinton.

Selection criteria

Though the vice president does not need to have any political experience, most major-party vice presidential nominees are current or former United States senators or representatives, with the occasional nominee being a current or former governor, a high-ranking military officer, or a holder of a major post within the Executive Department. In addition, the vice presidential nominee has always been an official resident of a different state than the presidential nominee. While nothing in the Constitution prohibits a presidential candidate and his or her running mate being from the same state, the "inhabitant clause" of the Twelfth Amendment does mandate that every presidential elector must cast a ballot for at least one candidate who is not from their own state. Prior to the 2000 election, both George W. Bush and Dick Cheney lived in and voted in Texas. To avoid creating a potential problem for Texas's electors, Cheney changed his residency back to Wyoming prior to the campaign.

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. While this selection process may enhance the chances of success for a national ticket, in the past it often resulted in the vice presidential nominee representing regions, constituencies, or ideologies at odds with those of the presidential candidate. As a result, vice presidents were often excluded from the policy-making process of the new administration. Many times their relationships with the president and his staff were aloof, non-existent, or even adversarial.

Historically, the focus was on geographic and ideological balance, widening a presidential candidate's appeal to voters from outside their regional base or wing of the party. Candidates from electoral-vote rich states were usually preferred. However, in 1992, moderate Democrat Bill Clinton (of Arkansas) chose moderate Democrat Al Gore (of Tennessee) as his running mate. Despite the two candidates' near-identical ideological and regional backgrounds, Gore's extensive experience in national affairs enhanced the appeal of a ticket headed by Clinton, whose political career had been spent entirely at the state level of government. In 2000, George W. Bush chose Dick Cheney of Wyoming, a reliably Republican state with only three electoral votes, and in 2008, Barack Obama mirrored Bush's strategy when he chose Joe Biden of Delaware, a reliably Democratic state, likewise one with only three electoral votes. Cheney and Biden were each chosen for their experience in national politics (experience lacked by both Bush and Obama) rather than the ideological balance or electoral vote advantage they would provide.

The ultimate goal of vice presidential candidate selection is to help and not hurt the party's chances of getting elected; nonetheless, several vice presidential selections have been controversial. In 1984, Democratic nominee Walter Mondale's groundbreaking choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate (the first woman in U.S. history nominated for vice president by a major political party), became a drag on the ticket due to repeated questions about her husband's finances. A selection whose positive traits make the presidential candidate look less favorable in comparison or which can cause the presidential candidate's judgment to be questioned often backfire, such as in 1988 when Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis chose experienced Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen; Bentsen was considered a more seasoned statesman in federal politics and somewhat overshadowed Dukakis. Questions about Dan Quayle's experience were raised in the 1988 presidential campaign of George H. W. Bush, but the Bush–Quayle ticket still won handily. James Stockdale, the choice of third-party candidate Ross Perot in 1992, was seen as unqualified by many and Stockdale had little preparation for the vice presidential debate, but the Perot–Stockdale ticket still won about 19% of the vote. In 2008, Republican John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate over his primary rivals and/or campaign surrogates such as Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge. This surprise move would, it was hoped, draw women voters disappointed by Hillary Clinton's defeat in the Democratic presidential primaries into the McCain camp. Palin's selection soon came to be seen as a negative for McCain, due to her several controversies during her gubernatorial tenure which were highlighted by the press, and her feuding with McCain campaign chairman Steve Schmidt. This perception continued to grow throughout the campaign, especially after her interviews with Katie Couric led to concerns about her fitness for the presidency.

Election

Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012, 2016 and 2020 presidential elections; it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the Congressional District Method. 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible.

The vice president is elected indirectly by the voters of each state and the District of Columbia through the Electoral College, a body of electors formed every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president to concurrent four-year terms. Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the size of its total delegation in both houses of Congress. Additionally, the Twenty-third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia is entitled to the number it would have if it were a state, but in no case more than that of the least populous state. Currently, all states and D.C. select their electors based on a popular election held on Election Day. In all but two states, the party whose presidential-vice presidential ticket receives a plurality of popular votes in the state has its entire slate of elector nominees chosen as the state's electors. Maine and Nebraska deviate from thiswinner-take-all practice, awarding two electors to the statewide winner and one to the winner in each congressional district.

On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December, about six weeks after the election, the electors convene in their respective states (and in Washington D.C.) to vote for president and, on a separate ballot, for vice president. The certified results are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress, held in the first week of January. A candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes for vice president (currently 270 of 538) is declared the winner. If no candidate has a majority, the Senate must meet to elect a vice president using a contingent election procedure in which senators, casting votes individually, choose between the two candidates who received the most electoral votes for vice president. For a candidate to win the contingent election, they must receive votes from an absolute majority of senators (currently 51 of 100).

There has been only one vice presidential contingent election since the process was created by the Twelfth Amendment. It occurred on February 8, 1837, after no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes cast for vice president in the 1836 election. By a 33–17 vote, Richard M. Johnson (Martin Van Buren's running mate) was elected the nation's ninth vice president over Francis Granger.

Inauguration

Four vice presidents: (from left) outgoing president Lyndon B. Johnson (the 37th vice president), incoming president Richard Nixon (36th), (Everett Dirksen administering oath), incoming vice president Spiro Agnew (39th), and outgoing vice president Hubert Humphrey (38th), January 20, 1969

Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment, the vice president's term of office begins at noon on January 20, as does the president's. The first presidential and vice presidential terms to begin on this date, known as Inauguration Day, were the second terms of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner in 1937. Previously, Inauguration Day was on March 4. As a result of the date change, both men's first terms (1933–37) were short of four years by 43 days.

Also in 1937, the vice president's swearing-in ceremony was held on the Inaugural platform on the Capitol's east front immediately before the president's swearing in. Up until then, most vice presidents took the oath of office in the Senate chamber, prior to the president's swearing-in ceremony. Although the Constitution contains the specific wording of the presidential oath, it contains only a general requirement, in ArticleVI, that the vice president and other government officers shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution. The current form, which has been used since 1884 reads:

I, (first name last name), do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter. So help me God.

Term of office

The term of office for both the vice president and the president is four years. While the Twenty-Second Amendment sets a limit on the number of times an individual can be elected to the presidency (two), there is no such 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 reelect the person to the office; one could even serve under different presidents. This has happened twice: George Clinton (1805–1812) served under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison; and John C. Calhoun (1825–1832) served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson. Additionally, neither the Constitution's eligibility provisions nor the Twenty-second Amendment's presidential term limit explicitly disqualify a twice-elected president from serving as vice president, though it is arguably prohibited by the last sentence of the Twelfth Amendment: "But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice-President of the United States." As of the 2020 election cycle however, no former president has tested the amendment's legal restrictions or meaning by running for the vice presidency.

Impeachment

Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution allows for the removal of federal officials, including the vice president, from office for "treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors". No vice president has ever been impeached.

Vacancies

(Left to right) President Richard Nixon, First Lady Pat Nixon, Betty Ford and Congressman Gerald Ford after President Nixon nominated Congressman Ford to be vice president, October 13, 1973

Prior to the ratification of the Twenty-fifth Amendment in 1967, no constitutional provision existed for filling an intra-term vacancy in the vice presidency.

As a result, when one occurred, the office was left vacant until filled through the next ensuing election and inauguration. Between 1812 and 1965, the vice presidency was vacant on sixteen occasions, as a result of seven deaths, one resignation, and eight cases of the vice president succeeding to the presidency. With the vacancy that followed the succession of Lyndon B. Johnson in 1963, the nation had been without a vice president for a cumulative total of 37 years.

Section 2 of the Twenty-fifth Amendment provides that "whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President, the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress." This procedure has been implemented twice since the amendment came into force: the first instance occurred in 1973 following the October 10 resignation of Spiro Agnew, when Gerald Ford was nominated by President Richard Nixon and confirmed by Congress. The second occurred ten months later on August 9, 1974, on Ford's accession to the presidency upon Nixon's resignation, when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated by President Ford and confirmed by Congress.

Had it not been for this new constitutional mechanism, the vice presidency would have remained vacant after Agnew's resignation; the speaker of the House, Carl Albert, would have become Acting President when Nixon resigned under the terms of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947.

Vice presidential vacancies
Period of vacancy Cause of vacancy Length Vacancy filled by
01 •April 20, 1812
March 4, 1813
Death of George Clinton 318 days Election of 1812
02 •November 23, 1814
March 4, 1817
Death of Elbridge Gerry 2 years, 101 days Election of 1816
03 •December 28, 1832
March 4, 1833
Resignation of John C. Calhoun 66 days Election of 1832
04 •April 4, 1841
March 4, 1845
Accession of John Tyler as president 3 years, 334 days Election of 1844
05 •July 9, 1850
March 4, 1853
Accession of Millard Fillmore as president 2 years, 238 days Election of 1852
06 •April 18, 1853
March 4, 1857
Death of William R. King 3 years, 320 days Election of 1856
07 •April 15, 1865
March 4, 1869
Accession of Andrew Johnson as president 3 years, 323 days Election of 1868
08 •November 22, 1875
March 4, 1877
Death of Henry Wilson 1 year, 102 days Election of 1876
09 •September 19, 1881
March 4, 1885
Accession of Chester A. Arthur as president 3 years, 166 days Election of 1884
10 •November 25, 1885
March 4, 1889
Death of Thomas A. Hendricks 3 years, 99 days Election of 1888
11 •November 21, 1899
March 4, 1901
Death of Garret Hobart 1 year, 103 days Election of 1900
12 •September 14, 1901
March 4, 1905
Accession of Theodore Roosevelt as president 3 years, 171 days Election of 1904
13 •October 30, 1912
March 4, 1913
Death of James S. Sherman 125 days Election of 1912
14 •August 2, 1923
March 4, 1925
Accession of Calvin Coolidge as president 1 year, 214 days Election of 1924
15 •April 12, 1945
January 20, 1949
Accession of Harry S. Truman as president 3 years, 283 days Election of 1948
16 •November 22, 1963
January 20, 1965
Accession of Lyndon B. Johnson as president 1 year, 59 days Election of 1964
17 •October 10, 1973
December 6, 1973
Resignation of Spiro Agnew 57 days Confirmation of successor
18 •August 9, 1974
December 19, 1974
Accession of Gerald Ford as president 132 days Confirmation of successor

Salary

The vice president's salary is $235,100. 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 their position as president of the Senate. The vice president must serve a minimum of two years to qualify for a pension.

Residence

The home of the vice president was designated in 1974, when Congress established Number One Observatory Circle as the official temporary residence of the vice president of the United States. In 1966 Congress, concerned about safety and security and mindful of the increasing responsibilities of the office, allotted money ($75,000) to fund construction of a residence for the vice president, but implementation stalled and after eight years the decision was revised, and One Observatory Circle was then designated for the vice president. Up until the change, vice presidents lived in homes, apartments, or hotels, and were compensated more like cabinet members and members of Congress, receiving only a housing allowance.

The three-story Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1893 on the grounds of the U.S. Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C., to serve as residence for the superintendent of the Observatory. In 1923, the residence was reassigned to be the home of the Chief of Naval Operations (CNO), which it was until it was turned over to the office of the vice president fifty years later.

Staff

The vice president is supported by personnel in the Office of the Vice President of the United States. The office was created in the Reorganization Act of 1939, which included an "office of the Vice President" under the Executive Office of the President. Salary for the staff is provided by both legislative and executive branch appropriations, in light of the vice president's roles in each branch.

Office spaces

In the modern era, the vice president makes use of at least four different office spaces. These include an office in the West Wing, a ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near where most of the vice president's staff works, the Vice President's Room on the Senate side of the United States Capitol for meetings with members of Congress, and an office at the vice president's residence.

As of 2021, there are five living former vice presidents. The most recent death of a former vice president was that of Walter Mondale (1977–1981), on April 19, 2021. The living former vice presidents, in order of service, are:

Since 1977, former presidents and vice presidents who are elected or re-elected to the Senate are entitled to the largely honorific position of Deputy President pro tempore. To date, the only former vice president to have held this title is Hubert Humphrey. Also, under the terms of an 1886 Senate resolution, all former vice presidents are entitled to a portrait bust in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol, commemorating their service as presidents of the Senate. Dick Cheney is the most recent former vice president to be so honored.

Unlike former presidents, whose pension is fixed at the same rate, regardless of their time in office, former vice presidents receive their retirement income based on their role as president of the Senate. Additionally, since 2008, each former vice president and their immediate family is entitled (under the Former Vice President Protection Act of 2008) to Secret Service protection for up to six months after leaving office, and again temporarily at any time thereafter if warranted.

This is a graphical timeline listing the vice presidents of the United States.


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Vice President of the United States
Vice President of the United States Article Talk Language Watch Edit For a list of officeholders see List of vice presidents of the United States 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 Vice President of the United States of AmericaVice presidential sealVice presidential flagIncumbent Kamala Harris since January 20 2021United States Senate Executive branch of the U S government Office of the Vice PresidentStyleMadam Vice President informal The Honorable formal Madam President within the Senate Her Excellency diplomatic StatusSecond highest executive branch officer President of the SenateMember ofCabinet National Security Council National Space Council National Economic CouncilResidenceNumber One Observatory CircleSeatWashington D C AppointerElectoral College or if vacant President via Congressional confirmationTerm lengthFour years no term limitConstituting instrumentConstitution of the United StatesFormationMarch 4 1789 232 years ago 1789 03 04 1 2 First holderJohn Adams 3 SuccessionFirst 4 Unofficial namesVPOTUS 5 VP Veep 6 Salary 235 100 annuallyWebsitewww whitehouse gov 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 Contents 1 History and development 1 1 Constitutional Convention 1 2 Early vice presidents and Twelfth Amendment 1 3 19th and early 20th centuries 1 4 Emergence of the modern vice presidency 1 5 Stepping stone to the presidency 2 Constitutional roles 2 1 President of the United States Senate 2 2 President of impeachment trials 2 3 President of electoral vote counts 2 4 Successor to the U S president 2 5 Acting president 3 Modern roles 3 1 Presidential advisor 3 2 Governing partner 3 3 Congressional liaison 3 4 Representative at events 3 5 National Security Council member 4 Selection process 4 1 Eligibility 4 2 Nomination 4 3 Selection criteria 4 4 Election 5 Tenure 5 1 Inauguration 5 2 Term of office 5 3 Impeachment 5 4 Vacancies 6 Office and status 6 1 Salary 6 2 Residence 6 3 Staff 6 4 Office spaces 7 Former vice presidents 8 Timeline 9 References 10 Further reading 11 External linksHistory and development EditConstitutional Convention Edit No mention of an office of vice president was made at the 1787 Constitutional Convention until near the end when an eleven member committee on Leftover Business proposed a method of electing the chief executive president 13 Delegates had previously considered the selection of the Senate s presiding officer deciding that the Senate shall choose its own President and had agreed that this official would be designated the executive s immediate successor They had also considered the mode of election of the executive but had not reached consensus This all changed on September 4 when the committee recommended that the nation s chief executive be elected by an Electoral College with each state having a number of presidential electors equal to the sum of that state s allocation of representatives and senators 10 14 Recognizing that loyalty to one s individual state outweighed loyalty to the new federation the Constitution s framers assumed individual electors would be inclined to choose a candidate from their own state a so called favorite son candidate over one from another state So they created the office of vice president and required the electors to vote for two candidates at least one of whom must be from outside the elector s state believing that the second vote would be cast for a candidate of national character 14 15 Additionally to guard against the possibility that electors might strategically waste their second votes it was specified that the first runner up would become vice president 14 The resultant method of electing the president and vice president spelled out in Article II Section 1 Clause 3 allocated to each state a number of electors equal to the combined total of its Senate and House of Representatives membership Each elector was allowed to vote for two people for president rather than for both president and vice president but could not differentiate between their first and second choice for the presidency The person receiving the greatest number of votes provided it was an absolute majority of the whole number of electors would be president while the individual who received the next largest number of votes became vice president If there were a tie for first or for second place or if no one won a majority of votes the president and vice president would be selected by means of contingent elections protocols stated in the clause 16 17 Early vice presidents and Twelfth Amendment Edit John Adams the first vice president of the United States The first two vice presidents John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both of whom gained the office by virtue of being runners up in presidential contests presided regularly over Senate proceedings and did much to shape the role of Senate president 18 19 Several 19th century vice presidents such as George Dallas Levi Morton and Garret Hobart followed their example and led effectively while others were rarely present 18 The emergence of political parties and nationally coordinated election campaigns during the 1790s which the Constitution s framers had not contemplated quickly frustrated the election plan in the original Constitution In the election of 1796 Federalist John Adams won the presidency but his bitter rival Democratic Republican Thomas Jefferson came second and became vice president Thus the president and vice president were from opposing parties and Jefferson used the vice presidency to frustrate the president s policies Then four years later in the election of 1800 Jefferson and fellow Democratic Republican Aaron Burr each received 73 electoral votes In the contingent election that followed Jefferson finally won on the 36th ballot and Burr became vice president Afterward the system was overhauled through the Twelfth Amendment in time to be used in the 1804 election 20 19th and early 20th centuries Edit For much of its existence the office of vice president was seen as little more than a minor position John Adams the first vice president was the first of many frustrated by the complete insignificance of the office To his wife Abigail Adams he wrote My country has in its wisdom contrived for me the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man or his imagination contrived or his imagination conceived and as I can do neither good nor evil I must be borne away by others and met the common fate 21 John Nance Garner who served as vice president from 1933 to 1941 under President Franklin D Roosevelt claimed that the vice presidency isn t worth a pitcher of warm piss 22 Harry Truman who also served as vice president under Roosevelt said the office was as useful as a cow s fifth teat 23 Walter Bagehot remarked in The English Constitution that t he framers of the Constitution expected that the vice president would be elected by the Electoral College as the second wisest man in the country The vice presidentship being a sinecure a second rate man agreeable to the wire pullers is always smuggled in The chance of succession to the presidentship is too distant to be thought of 24 When the Whig Party asked Daniel Webster to run for the vice presidency on Zachary Taylor s ticket he replied I do not propose to be buried until I am really dead and in my coffin 25 This was the second time Webster declined the office which William Henry Harrison had first offered to him Ironically both the presidents making the offer to Webster died in office meaning the three time candidate would have become president had he accepted either Since presidents rarely die in office however the better preparation for the presidency was considered to be the office of Secretary of State in which Webster served under Harrison Tyler and later Taylor s successor Fillmore In the first hundred years of the United States existence no fewer than seven proposals to abolish the office of vice president were advanced 26 The first such constitutional amendment was presented by Samuel W Dana in 1800 it was defeated by a vote of 27 to 85 in the United States House of Representatives 26 The second introduced by United States Senator James Hillhouse in 1808 was also defeated 26 During the late 1860s and 1870s five additional amendments were proposed 26 One advocate James Mitchell Ashley opined that the office of vice president was superfluous and dangerous 26 Garret Hobart the first vice president under William McKinley was one of the very few vice presidents at this time who played an important role in the administration A close confidant and adviser of the president Hobart was called Assistant President 27 However until 1919 vice presidents were not included in meetings of the President s Cabinet This precedent was broken by President Woodrow Wilson when he asked Thomas R Marshall to preside over Cabinet meetings while Wilson was in France negotiating the Treaty of Versailles 28 President Warren G Harding also invited his vice president Calvin Coolidge to meetings The next vice president Charles G Dawes did not seek to attend Cabinet meetings under President Coolidge declaring that the precedent might prove injurious to the country 29 Vice President Charles Curtis was also precluded from attending by President Herbert Hoover Thomas R Marshall the 28th vice president lamented Once there were two brothers One ran away to sea the other was elected Vice President of the United States And nothing was heard of either of them again 30 His successor Calvin Coolidge was so obscure that Major League Baseball sent him free passes that misspelled his name and a fire marshal failed to recognize him when Coolidge s Washington residence was evacuated 31 Emergence of the modern vice presidency Edit Though prominent as a Missouri Senator Harry Truman had been vice president only three months when he became president he was never informed of Franklin Roosevelt s war or postwar policies while vice president In 1933 Franklin D Roosevelt raised the stature of the office by renewing the practice of inviting the vice president to cabinet meetings which every president since has maintained Roosevelt s first vice president John Nance Garner broke with him over the court packing issue early in his second term and became Roosevelt s leading critic At the start of that term on January 20 1937 Garner had been the first vice president to be sworn into office on the Capitol steps in the same ceremony with the president a tradition that continues Prior to that time vice presidents were traditionally inaugurated at a separate ceremony in the Senate chamber Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller who were each appointed to the office under the terms of the 25th Amendment were inaugurated in the House and Senate chambers respectively Henry Wallace Roosevelt s vice president during his third term 1941 1945 was given major responsibilities during World War II However after numerous policy disputes between Wallace and other Roosevelt Administration and Democratic Party officials he was denied renomination to office at the 1944 Democratic National Convention Harry Truman was selected instead During his 82 day vice presidency Truman was not informed about any war or post war plans including the Manhattan Project leading Truman to remark wryly that the job of the vice president was to go to weddings and funerals citation needed As a result of this experience Truman after succeeding to the presidency upon Roosevelt s death recognized the need to keep the vice president informed on national security issues Congress made the vice president one of four statutory members of the National Security Council in 1949 The stature of the vice presidency grew again while Richard Nixon was in office 1953 1961 He attracted the attention of the media and the Republican Party when Dwight Eisenhower authorized him to preside at Cabinet meetings in his absence Nixon was also the first vice president to formally assume temporary control of the executive branch which he did after Eisenhower suffered a heart attack on September 24 1955 ileitis in June 1956 and a stroke in November 1957 Until 1961 vice presidents had their offices on Capitol Hill a formal office in the Capitol itself and a working office in the Russell Senate Office Building Lyndon B Johnson was the first vice president to be given an office in the White House complex in the Old Executive Office Building The former Navy Secretary s office in the OEOB has since been designated the Ceremonial Office of the Vice President and is today used for formal events and press interviews President Jimmy Carter was the first president to give his vice president Walter Mondale an office in the West Wing of the White House which all vice presidents have since retained Because of their function as President of the Senate vice presidents still maintain offices and staff members on Capitol Hill Though Walter Mondale s tenure was the beginning of the modern day power of the vice presidency the tenure of Dick Cheney saw a rapid growth in the office of the vice president Vice President Cheney held a tremendous amount of power and frequently made policy decisions on his own without the knowledge of the president 32 During the 2008 presidential campaign both vice presidential candidates Sarah Palin and Joe Biden said the office had expanded too much under Cheney s tenure both said they would reduce the role to simply being an adviser to the president 33 This rapid growth has led to calls for abolition of the vice presidency from various constitutional scholars and political commentators such as Matthew Yglesias and Bruce Ackerman 34 35 Stepping stone to the presidency Edit This section does not cite any sources Please help improve this section by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed June 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message In addition to the nine vice presidents who succeeded to the presidency intra term four of whom subsequently won election to a full term six became president after serving one or more full terms as vice president namely John Adams Thomas Jefferson Martin Van Buren Richard Nixon George H W Bush and Joe Biden Of these two Adams and Jefferson held the office in the pre Twelfth Amendment era when vice presidents were the runners up in the presidential election and three Nixon Bush and Biden are from the modern era of growing vice presidential power All but Nixon and Biden went directly from one office to the other In recent decades the vice presidency has frequently been used as a platform 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 presidential 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 13 presidential elections from 1956 to 2004 nine featured the incumbent president and the other four featured the incumbent vice president as a presidential candidate 1960 Richard Nixon 1968 Hubert Humphrey 1988 George H W Bush 2000 Al Gore Three presidential elections since the 1960s have featured a former vice president as a presidential candidate 1968 Richard Nixon 1984 Walter Mondale 2020 Joe Biden Constitutional roles EditAlthough delegates to the constitutional convention approved establishing the office with both its executive and senatorial functions not many understood the office and so they gave the vice president few duties and little power 18 Only a few states had an analogous position Among those that did New York s constitution provided that the lieutenant governor shall by virtue of his office be president of the Senate and upon an equal division have a casting voice in their decisions but not vote on any other occasion 36 As a result the vice presidency originally had authority in only a few areas although constitutional amendments have added or clarified some matters President of the United States Senate Edit Article I Section 3 Clause 4 confers upon the vice president the title president of the Senate and authorizes them to preside over Senate meetings In this capacity the vice president is responsible for maintaining order and decorum recognizing members to speak and interpreting the Senate s rules practices and precedent With this position also comes the authority to cast a tie breaking vote In practice the number of times vice presidents have exercised this right has varied greatly John C Calhoun holds the record at 31 votes followed closely by John Adams with 29 18 During his first year in office through January 24 2018 Mike Pence cast eight tie breaking votes his predecessor Joe Biden did not cast any during his eight years in office 37 As the framers of the Constitution anticipated that the vice president would not always be available to fulfill this responsibility the Constitution provides that the Senate may elect a president pro tempore or president for a time in order to maintain the proper ordering of the legislative process In practice since the early 20th century the president of the Senate rarely presides nor does the president pro tempore Instead the president pro tempore regularly delegates the task to other Senate members 38 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 Time magazine wrote in 1925 during the tenure of Vice President Charles G Dawes 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 39 President of impeachment trials Edit In their capacity as president of the Senate the vice president may preside over most impeachment trials of federal officers although the Constitution does not specifically require it However whenever the president of the United States is on trial the Constitution requires that the chief justice of the United States must preside This stipulation was designed to avoid the possible conflict of interest in having the vice president preside over the trial for the removal of the one official standing between them and the presidency 40 In contrast it is not stipulated which federal official presides when the vice president is tried 11 thus leaving it unclear whether an impeached vice president could as President of the Senate preside at his or her own impeachment trial The Constitution is silent on the issue 41 President of electoral vote counts Edit The Twelfth Amendment provides that the vice president in their capacity as President of the Senate receives the Electoral College votes and then in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives opens the sealed votes 16 The votes are counted during a joint session of Congress as prescribed by the Electoral Count Act which also specifies that the president of the Senate presides over the joint session 42 The next such joint session will next take place following the 2024 presidential election on January 6 2025 unless Congress sets a different date by law 17 In this capacity four vice presidents have been able to announce their own election to the presidency John Adams Thomas Jefferson Martin Van Buren and George H W Bush 18 Conversely John C Breckinridge in 1861 43 Richard Nixon in 1961 44 and Al Gore in 2001 45 all had to announce their opponent s election In 1969 Vice President Hubert Humphrey would have done so as well following his 1968 loss to Richard Nixon however on the date of the Congressional joint session Humphrey was in Norway attending the funeral of Trygve Lie the first elected Secretary General of the United Nations The president pro tempore Richard Russell presided in his absence 44 On February 8 1933 Vice President Charles Curtis announced the election of his successor House Speaker John Nance Garner while Garner was seated next to him on the House dais 46 Most recently on January 6 2021 Vice President Mike Pence announced the election of his successor Kamala Harris Successor to the U S president Edit 1888 illustration of John Tyler receiving the news of President William Henry Harrison s death from Chief Clerk of the State Department Fletcher Webster Article II Section 1 Clause 6 stipulates that the vice president takes over the powers and duties of the presidency in the event of a president s removal death resignation or inability 47 Even so it does not clearly state whether the vice president became the president of the United States or simply acted as president in a case of succession Debate records from the 1787 Constitutional Convention along with various participants later writings on the subject show that the framers of the Constitution intended that the vice president would temporarily exercise the powers and duties of the office in the event of a president s death disability or removal but not actually become the president of the United States in their own right 48 49 This understanding was first tested in 1841 following the death of President William Henry Harrison only 31 days into his term Harrison s vice president John Tyler asserted that he had succeeded to the office of president not just to its powers and duties He took the presidential oath of office and declined to acknowledge documents referring to him as Acting President 50 Although some in Congress denounced Tyler s claim as a violation of the Constitution 47 he adhered to his position Tyler s view ultimately prevailed when the Senate and House voted to acknowledge him as president 51 setting a momentous precedent for an orderly transfer of presidential power following a president s death 50 one made explicit by Section 1 of the Twenty fifth Amendment in 1967 52 In total nine vice presidents have succeeded to the presidency intra term In addition to Tyler they are Millard Fillmore Andrew Johnson Chester A Arthur Theodore Roosevelt Calvin Coolidge Harry S Truman Lyndon B Johnson and Gerald Ford 48 Acting president Edit Sections 3 and 4 of the Twenty fifth Amendment provide for situations where the president is temporarily unable to lead such as if the president has a surgical procedure becomes seriously ill or injured or is otherwise unable to discharge the powers or duties of the presidency Section 3 deals with self declared incapacity and Section 4 addresses incapacity declared by the joint action of the vice president and of a majority of the Cabinet 53 While Section 4 has never been invoked Section 3 has been invoked on three occasions by two presidents President Ronald Reagan did so once on July 13 1985 before undergoing surgery Vice President George H W Bush was acting president for approximately eight hours President George W Bush did so twice on June 29 2002 and July 21 2007 prior to undergoing medical procedures which were done under sedation Vice President Dick Cheney was acting president for approximately two hours on each occasion 54 Sections 3 and 4 were added because there was ambiguity in the Article II succession clause regarding a disabled president including what constituted an inability who determined the existence of an inability and if a vice president became president for the rest of the presidential term in the case of an inability or became merely acting president During the 19th and first half of the 20th century several presidents experienced periods of severe illness physical disability or injury some lasting for weeks or months During these times even though the nation needed effective presidential leadership no vice president wanted to seem like a usurper and so power was never transferred After President Dwight D Eisenhower openly addressed his health issues and made it a point to enter into an agreement with Vice President Richard Nixon that provided for Nixon to act on his behalf if Eisenhower became unable to provide effective presidential leadership Nixon did informally assume some of the president s duties for several weeks on each of three occasions when Eisenhower was ill discussions began in Congress about clearing up the Constitution s ambiguity on the subject 47 53 Modern roles EditThe present day power of the office flows primarily from formal and informal delegations of authority from the president and Congress 11 These delegations can vary in significance for example the vice president is a statutory member of both the National Security Council and the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution 9 The extent of the 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 these roles depends almost entirely on the characteristics of the particular administration Presidential advisor Edit Then Vice President Joe Biden meets with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office 2010 Most recent vice presidents have been viewed as important presidential advisors Walter Mondale wrote President Jimmy Carter a memo following the 1976 election stating his belief that his most important role would be as a general adviser to the president 55 Al Gore was an important adviser to President Bill Clinton on matters of foreign policy and the environment Dick Cheney was widely regarded as one of President George W Bush s closest confidants Joe Biden asked President Barack Obama to let him always be the last person in the room when a big decision was made and to have a weekly lunch with the president later as president himself Biden would adopt this model with his own vice president Kamala Harris 56 57 Governing partner Edit Recent vice presidents have been delegated authority by presidents to handle significant issue areas independently Joe Biden who both held the office himself and selected a candidate for it as his running mate has observed that the presidency is too big anymore for any one man or woman 58 Dick Cheney was considered to hold a tremendous amount of power and frequently made policy decisions on his own without the knowledge of the president 32 Biden was assigned by Barack Obama to oversee Iraq policy Obama was said to have said Joe you do Iraq 59 In February 2020 Donald Trump appointed Mike Pence to lead his response to COVID 19 60 and upon his ascension to the presidency Biden put Kamala Harris in charge of controlling migration at the US Mexico border 61 Congressional liaison Edit The vice president is often an important liaison between the administration and Congress especially in situations where the president has not previously served in Congress or served only briefly Vice presidents are often selected as running mates in part due to their legislative relationships notably including Richard Nixon Lyndon Johnson Walter Mondale Dick Cheney Joe Biden and Mike Pence among others In recent years Dick Cheney held weekly meetings in the Vice President s Room at the United States Capitol Joe Biden played a key role in bipartisan budget negotiations and Mike Pence often met with House and Senate Republicans Kamala Harris the current vice president presides over a 50 50 split Senate potentially providing her with a key role in passing bills Representative at events Edit Under the American system of government the president is both head of state and head of government 62 and the ceremonial duties of the former position are often delegated to the vice president The vice president will on occasion represent the president and the U S government at state funerals abroad or at various events in the United States This often is the most visible role of the vice president The vice president may also meet with other heads of state at times when the administration wishes to demonstrate concern or support but cannot send the president personally National Security Council member Edit Since 1949 the vice president has legally been a member of the National Security Council Harry Truman having not been told about any war or post war plans during his vice presidency notably the Manhattan Project recognized that upon assuming the presidency a vice president needed to be already informed on such issues Modern vice presidents have also been included in the president s daily intelligence briefings 56 and frequently participate in meetings in the Situation Room with the president Selection process EditThis section needs additional citations for verification Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources Unsourced material may be challenged and removed Find sources Vice President of the United States news newspapers books scholar JSTOR June 2021 Learn how and when to remove this template message Eligibility Edit To be constitutionally eligible to serve as the nation s vice president a person must according to the Twelfth Amendment meet the eligibility requirements to become president which are stated in Article II Section 1 Clause 5 Thus to serve as vice president an individual must be a natural born U S citizen be at least 35 years old be a resident in the U S for at least 14 years 63 A person who meets the above qualifications is still disqualified from holding the office of vice president under the following conditions Under Article I Section 3 Clause 7 upon conviction in impeachment cases the Senate has the option of disqualifying convicted individuals from holding federal office including that of vice president Under Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment no person who has sworn an oath to support the Constitution who has later gone to war against the United States or given aid and comfort to the nation s enemies can serve in a state or federal office including as vice president This disqualification originally aimed at former supporters of the Confederacy may be removed by a two thirds vote of each house of the Congress 64 Under the Twelfth Amendment to the United States Constitution no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States 63 Nomination Edit Geraldine Ferraro speaks at the 1984 Democratic National Convention following her selection as the party s vice presidential nominee 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 candidate 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 candidate to choose his vice presidential candidate was Franklin D Roosevelt in 1940 65 The last not to name a vice presidential choice leaving the matter up to the convention was Democrat Adlai Stevenson in 1956 The convention chose Tennessee Senator Estes Kefauver over Massachusetts Senator and later president John F Kennedy At the tumultuous 1972 Democratic convention presidential nominee George McGovern selected Senator Thomas Eagleton 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 Sargent Shriver 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 During times in a presidential election cycle before the identity of the presidential nominee is clear including cases where the presidential nomination is still in doubt as the convention approaches campaigns for the two positions may become intertwined In 1976 Ronald Reagan who was trailing President Gerald Ford in the presidential delegate count announced prior to the Republican National Convention that if nominated he would select Senator Richard Schweiker as his running mate Reagan was the first presidential aspirant to announce his selection for vice president before the beginning of the convention Reagan s supporters then unsuccessfully sought to amend the convention rules so that Gerald Ford would be required to name his vice presidential running mate in advance as well 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 In the 2008 Democratic presidential primaries which pitted Hillary Clinton against Barack Obama Clinton suggested a Clinton Obama ticket with Obama in the vice president slot as it would be unstoppable against the presumptive Republican nominee Obama rejected the offer outright saying I want everybody to be absolutely clear I m not running for vice president I m running for president of the United States of America while noting With all due respect I won twice as many states as Senator Clinton I ve won more of the popular vote than Senator Clinton I have more delegates than Senator Clinton So I don t know how somebody who s in second place is offering vice presidency to the person who s in first place Obama said the nomination process would have to be a choice between himself and Clinton saying I don t want anybody here thinking that Somehow maybe I can get both by nominating Clinton and assuming he would be her running mate 66 67 Some suggested that it was a ploy by the Clinton campaign to denigrate Obama as less qualified for the presidency 68 failed verification Later when Obama became the presumptive Democratic nominee former president Jimmy Carter cautioned against Clinton being picked for the vice president slot on the ticket saying I think it would be the worst mistake that could be made That would just accumulate the negative aspects of both candidates citing opinion polls showing 50 of US voters with a negative view of Hillary Clinton 69 Selection criteria Edit Though the vice president does not need to have any political experience most major party vice presidential nominees are current or former United States senators or representatives with the occasional nominee being a current or former governor a high ranking military officer or a holder of a major post within the Executive Department In addition the vice presidential nominee has always been an official resident of a different state than the presidential nominee While nothing in the Constitution prohibits a presidential candidate and his or her running mate being from the same state the inhabitant clause of the Twelfth Amendment does mandate that every presidential elector must cast a ballot for at least one candidate who is not from their own state Prior to the 2000 election both George W Bush and Dick Cheney lived in and voted in Texas To avoid creating a potential problem for Texas s electors Cheney changed his residency back to Wyoming prior to the campaign 63 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 While this selection process may enhance the chances of success for a national ticket in the past it often resulted in the vice presidential nominee representing regions constituencies or ideologies at odds with those of the presidential candidate As a result vice presidents were often excluded from the policy making process of the new administration Many times their relationships with the president and his staff were aloof non existent or even adversarial Historically the focus was on geographic and ideological balance widening a presidential candidate s appeal to voters from outside their regional base or wing of the party Candidates from electoral vote rich states were usually preferred However in 1992 moderate Democrat Bill Clinton of Arkansas chose moderate Democrat Al Gore of Tennessee as his running mate Despite the two candidates near identical ideological and regional backgrounds Gore s extensive experience in national affairs enhanced the appeal of a ticket headed by Clinton whose political career had been spent entirely at the state level of government In 2000 George W Bush chose Dick Cheney of Wyoming a reliably Republican state with only three electoral votes and in 2008 Barack Obama mirrored Bush s strategy when he chose Joe Biden of Delaware a reliably Democratic state likewise one with only three electoral votes Cheney and Biden were each chosen for their experience in national politics experience lacked by both Bush and Obama rather than the ideological balance or electoral vote advantage they would provide The ultimate goal of vice presidential candidate selection is to help and not hurt the party s chances of getting elected nonetheless several vice presidential selections have been controversial In 1984 Democratic nominee Walter Mondale s groundbreaking choice of Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate the first woman in U S history nominated for vice president by a major political party became a drag on the ticket due to repeated questions about her husband s finances A selection whose positive traits make the presidential candidate look less favorable in comparison or which can cause the presidential candidate s judgment to be questioned often backfire such as in 1988 when Democratic candidate Michael Dukakis chose experienced Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen Bentsen was considered a more seasoned statesman in federal politics and somewhat overshadowed Dukakis Questions about Dan Quayle s experience were raised in the 1988 presidential campaign of George H W Bush but the Bush Quayle ticket still won handily James Stockdale the choice of third party candidate Ross Perot in 1992 was seen as unqualified by many and Stockdale had little preparation for the vice presidential debate but the Perot Stockdale ticket still won about 19 of the vote In 2008 Republican John McCain chose Sarah Palin as his running mate over his primary rivals and or campaign surrogates such as Mitt Romney or Tom Ridge This surprise move would it was hoped draw women voters disappointed by Hillary Clinton s defeat in the Democratic presidential primaries into the McCain camp Palin s selection soon came to be seen as a negative for McCain due to her several controversies during her gubernatorial tenure which were highlighted by the press and her feuding with McCain campaign chairman Steve Schmidt This perception continued to grow throughout the campaign especially after her interviews with Katie Couric led to concerns about her fitness for the presidency 70 Election Edit Map of the United States showing the number of electoral votes allocated following the 2010 census to each state and the District of Columbia for the 2012 2016 and 2020 presidential elections it also notes that Maine and Nebraska distribute electors by way of the Congressional District Method 270 electoral votes are required for a majority out of 538 votes possible Main article Electoral College United States The vice president is elected indirectly by the voters of each state and the District of Columbia through the Electoral College a body of electors formed every four years for the sole purpose of electing the president and vice president to concurrent four year terms Each state is entitled to a number of electors equal to the size of its total delegation in both houses of Congress Additionally the Twenty third Amendment provides that the District of Columbia is entitled to the number it would have if it were a state but in no case more than that of the least populous state 71 Currently all states and D C select their electors based on a popular election held on Election Day 17 In all but two states the party whose presidential vice presidential ticket receives a plurality of popular votes in the state has its entire slate of elector nominees chosen as the state s electors 72 Maine and Nebraska deviate from this winner take all practice awarding two electors to the statewide winner and one to the winner in each congressional district 73 74 On the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December about six weeks after the election the electors convene in their respective states and in Washington D C to vote for president and on a separate ballot for vice president The certified results are opened and counted during a joint session of Congress held in the first week of January A candidate who receives an absolute majority of electoral votes for vice president currently 270 of 538 is declared the winner If no candidate has a majority the Senate must meet to elect a vice president using a contingent election procedure in which senators casting votes individually choose between the two candidates who received the most electoral votes for vice president For a candidate to win the contingent election they must receive votes from an absolute majority of senators currently 51 of 100 17 75 There has been only one vice presidential contingent election since the process was created by the Twelfth Amendment It occurred on February 8 1837 after no candidate received a majority of the electoral votes cast for vice president in the 1836 election By a 33 17 vote Richard M Johnson Martin Van Buren s running mate was elected the nation s ninth vice president over Francis Granger 76 Tenure EditInauguration Edit Main article United States presidential inauguration Four vice presidents from left outgoing president Lyndon B Johnson the 37th vice president incoming president Richard Nixon 36th Everett Dirksen administering oath incoming vice president Spiro Agnew 39th and outgoing vice president Hubert Humphrey 38th January 20 1969 Pursuant to the Twentieth Amendment the vice president s term of office begins at noon on January 20 as does the president s 77 The first presidential and vice presidential terms to begin on this date known as Inauguration Day were the second terms of President Franklin D Roosevelt and Vice President John Nance Garner in 1937 78 Previously Inauguration Day was on March 4 As a result of the date change both men s first terms 1933 37 were short of four years by 43 days 79 Also in 1937 the vice president s swearing in ceremony was held on the Inaugural platform on the Capitol s east front immediately before the president s swearing in Up until then most vice presidents took the oath of office in the Senate chamber prior to the president s swearing in ceremony 80 Although the Constitution contains the specific wording of the presidential oath it contains only a general requirement in Article VI that the vice president and other government officers shall take an oath or affirmation to support the Constitution The current form which has been used since 1884 reads I first name last name do solemnly swear or affirm that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies foreign and domestic that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same that I take this obligation freely without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter So help me God 81 Term of office Edit The term of office for both the vice president and the president is four years While the Twenty Second Amendment sets a limit on the number of times an individual can be elected to the presidency two 82 there is no such 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 reelect the person to the office one could even serve under different presidents This has happened twice George Clinton 1805 1812 served under both Thomas Jefferson and James Madison and John C Calhoun 1825 1832 served under John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson 18 Additionally neither the Constitution s eligibility provisions nor the Twenty second Amendment s presidential term limit explicitly disqualify a twice elected president from serving as vice president though it is arguably prohibited by the last sentence of the Twelfth Amendment But no person constitutionally ineligible to the office of President shall be eligible to that of Vice President of the United States 83 As of the 2020 election cycle however no former president has tested the amendment s legal restrictions or meaning by running for the vice presidency 84 85 Impeachment Edit Further information Impeachment in the United States Article II Section 4 of the Constitution allows for the removal of federal officials including the vice president from office for treason bribery or other high crimes and misdemeanors No vice president has ever been impeached Vacancies Edit Left to right President Richard Nixon First Lady Pat Nixon Betty Ford and Congressman Gerald Ford after President Nixon nominated Congressman Ford to be vice president October 13 1973 Prior to the ratification of the Twenty fifth Amendment in 1967 no constitutional provision existed for filling an intra term vacancy in the vice presidency As a result when one occurred the office was left vacant until filled through the next ensuing election and inauguration Between 1812 and 1965 the vice presidency was vacant on sixteen occasions as a result of seven deaths one resignation and eight cases of the vice president succeeding to the presidency With the vacancy that followed the succession of Lyndon B Johnson in 1963 the nation had been without a vice president for a cumulative total of 37 years 86 87 Section 2 of the Twenty fifth Amendment provides that whenever there is a vacancy in the office of the Vice President the President shall nominate a Vice President who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of both Houses of Congress 4 This procedure has been implemented twice since the amendment came into force the first instance occurred in 1973 following the October 10 resignation of Spiro Agnew when Gerald Ford was nominated by President Richard Nixon and confirmed by Congress The second occurred ten months later on August 9 1974 on Ford s accession to the presidency upon Nixon s resignation when Nelson Rockefeller was nominated by President Ford and confirmed by Congress 47 87 Had it not been for this new constitutional mechanism the vice presidency would have remained vacant after Agnew s resignation the speaker of the House Carl Albert would have become Acting President when Nixon resigned under the terms of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947 88 Vice presidential vacancies 18 48 Period of vacancy Cause of vacancy Length Vacancy filled by0 1 April 20 1812 March 4 1813 Death of George Clinton 318 days Election of 18120 2 November 23 1814 March 4 1817 Death of Elbridge Gerry 2 years 101 days Election of 18160 3 December 28 1832 March 4 1833 Resignation of John C Calhoun 66 days Election of 18320 4 April 4 1841 March 4 1845 Accession of John Tyler as president 3 years 334 days Election of 18440 5 July 9 1850 March 4 1853 Accession of Millard Fillmore as president 2 years 238 days Election of 18520 6 April 18 1853 March 4 1857 Death of William R King 3 years 320 days Election of 18560 7 April 15 1865 March 4 1869 Accession of Andrew Johnson as president 3 years 323 days Election of 18680 8 November 22 1875 March 4 1877 Death of Henry Wilson 1 year 102 days Election of 18760 9 September 19 1881 March 4 1885 Accession of Chester A Arthur as president 3 years 166 days Election of 188410 November 25 1885 March 4 1889 Death of Thomas A Hendricks 3 years 99 days Election of 188811 November 21 1899 March 4 1901 Death of Garret Hobart 1 year 103 days Election of 190012 September 14 1901 March 4 1905 Accession of Theodore Roosevelt as president 3 years 171 days Election of 190413 October 30 1912 March 4 1913 Death of James S Sherman 125 days Election of 191214 August 2 1923 March 4 1925 Accession of Calvin Coolidge as president 1 year 214 days Election of 192415 April 12 1945 January 20 1949 Accession of Harry S Truman as president 3 years 283 days Election of 194816 November 22 1963 January 20 1965 Accession of Lyndon B Johnson as president 1 year 59 days Election of 196417 October 10 1973 December 6 1973 Resignation of Spiro Agnew 57 days Confirmation of successor18 August 9 1974 December 19 1974 Accession of Gerald Ford as president 132 days Confirmation of successorOffice and status EditSalary Edit The vice president s salary is 235 100 89 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 their position as president of the Senate 90 The vice president must serve a minimum of two years to qualify for a pension 91 Residence Edit The home of the vice president was designated in 1974 when Congress established Number One Observatory Circle as the official temporary residence of the vice president of the United States In 1966 Congress concerned about safety and security and mindful of the increasing responsibilities of the office allotted money 75 000 to fund construction of a residence for the vice president but implementation stalled and after eight years the decision was revised and One Observatory Circle was then designated for the vice president 92 Up until the change vice presidents lived in homes apartments or hotels and were compensated more like cabinet members and members of Congress receiving only a housing allowance The three story Queen Anne style mansion was built in 1893 on the grounds of the U S Naval Observatory in Washington D C to serve as residence for the superintendent of the Observatory In 1923 the residence was reassigned to be the home of the Chief of Naval Operations CNO which it was until it was turned over to the office of the vice president fifty years later Staff Edit The vice president is supported by personnel in the Office of the Vice President of the United States The office was created in the Reorganization Act of 1939 which included an office of the Vice President under the Executive Office of the President Salary for the staff is provided by both legislative and executive branch appropriations in light of the vice president s roles in each branch Office spaces Edit In the modern era the vice president makes use of at least four different office spaces These include an office in the West Wing a ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building near where most of the vice president s staff works the Vice President s Room on the Senate side of the United States Capitol for meetings with members of Congress and an office at the vice president s residence Former vice presidents EditSee also List of vice presidents of the United States Subsequent public office As of 2021 there are five living former vice presidents 93 The most recent death of a former vice president was that of Walter Mondale 1977 1981 on April 19 2021 The living former vice presidents in order of service are Dan Quayle 1989 1993 Age 74 Al Gore 1993 2001 Age 73 Dick Cheney 2001 2009 Age 80 Joe Biden 2009 2017 Age 78 Mike Pence 2017 2021 Age 62 Since 1977 former presidents and vice presidents who are elected or re elected to the Senate are entitled to the largely honorific position of Deputy President pro tempore To date the only former vice president to have held this title is Hubert Humphrey Also under the terms of an 1886 Senate resolution all former vice presidents are entitled to a portrait bust in the Senate wing of the United States Capitol commemorating their service as presidents of the Senate Dick Cheney is the most recent former vice president to be so honored 94 Unlike former presidents whose pension is fixed at the same rate regardless of their time in office former vice presidents receive their retirement income based on their role as president of the Senate 95 Additionally since 2008 each former vice president and their immediate family 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Congress September 26 2008 Archived from the original on January 9 2021 Retrieved August 3 2018 Further reading EditBrower Kate A 2018 First in Line Presidents Vice Presidents and the Pursuit of Power New York Harper ISBN 978 0062668943 Cohen Jared 2019 Accidental Presidents Eight Men Who Changed America Hardcover ed New York Simon amp Schuster pp 1 48 ISBN 978 1501109829 Goldstein Joel K 1982 The Modern American Vice Presidency Princeton University Press ISBN 0 691 02208 9 Hatch Louis C 2012 Shoup Earl L ed A History Of The Vice Presidency Of The United States Whitefish MT Literary Licensing ISBN 978 1258442262 Tally Steve 1992 Bland Ambition From Adams to Quayle The Cranks Criminals Tax Cheats and Golfers Who Made It to Vice President Harcourt ISBN 0 15 613140 4 Vexler Robert I 1975 The Vice Presidents and Cabinet members Biographies arranged chronologically by Administration Dobbs Ferry NY University of Michigan Oceana Publications ISBN 978 0379120899 Waldrup Carole C 2006 Vice Presidents Biographies of the 45 Men Who Have Held the Second Highest Office in the United States Jefferson NC McFarland amp Company ISBN 978 0786426119 Witcover Jules 2014 The American Vice Presidency From Irrelevance to Power Washington DC Smithsonian Books ISBN 978 1588344717 External links Edit United States portal Politics portal Wikimedia Commons has media related to Vice President of the United States White House website for Vice President Kamala Harris Vice President Elect Chester Arthur on Expectations of VP Shapell Manuscript Foundation A New Nation Votes American Election Returns 1787 1825 Documentary about the 1996 election and Vice Presidents throughout history Running Mate 1996 10 01 The Walter J Brown Media Archives amp Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia American Archive of Public Broadcasting U S presidential line of successionPreceded byNone 1st in line Succeeded bySpeaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi Retrieved from https en 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