The Constitution names the vice president of the United States as the president of the Senate. In addition to serving as presiding officer, the vice president has the sole power to break a tie vote in the Senate and formally presides over the receiving and counting of electoral ballots cast in presidential elections.
Today vice presidents serve as principal advisors to the president, but from 1789 until the 1950s their primary duty was to preside over the Senate. Since the 1830s, vice presidents have occupied offices near the Senate Chamber. Over the course of the nation’s history, the vice president’s influence evolved as vice presidents and senators experimented with, and at times vigorously debated, the role to be played by this constitutional officer.
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