What Are the Special Powers of the Senate?

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The special powers of the Senate are to approve treaties, impeach public officials and approve people appointed to office by the president. The Senate is also able to censure its own members for inappropriate behavior.

Treaties can only be passed by the Senate with a two-thirds vote in favor. Impeachment also requires a two-thirds vote in favor. Approval of presidentially-appointed officials, however, requires only a majority vote. The special powers of the Senate are different than the expressed and implied powers. The expressed powers are those specifically assigned to Congress, comprised of the Senate and House of Representatives, by the United States Constitution that pertain to its legislative role within the government. The implied powers of Congress give the Senate and the House of Representatives the ability to pass laws that they believe are necessary for the good of the country. The special powers are those that are meant to be part of the three-branch checks and balances system, which prevents any one branch of the government from having too much power. In particular, these special powers help Congress ensure that the executive branch of the government does not exercise too much control over the government. The House of Representatives has some special powers that are unique to it as well. Although Congress is similar to Parliament, Congress has much more power than members of a traditional parliamentary government.