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The Vice President of the United States has only four official duties:

(1) He presides over the Senate - formally, he sits in Senate and acts as the officer-in-charge, by which he does the usual management of administering a parliamentary-based body. He does NOT have powers to vote (see below for an exception), introduce or modify legislation, or have any power than to act as the moderator/referee.

(2) In the special case of a tie vote in the Senate, the VP is permitted to break the tie by casing the deciding vote.

(3) When the Electoral College officially meets after a Presidential election, the current Vice President sits as the presiding official. Officially, he watches to make sure the voting is done and counted properly, then acts as the official reciever and verifier of the vote.

(4) Be ready to step in and act as President, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, should the President be disabled, die, or be removed. This means the V.P. receives constant updates from the various National Security advisory bodies, and generally is the person immediately after the President who is informed of any significant event or development.

In modern times, the V.P. very seldom acts as in (1) - normally, this duty is passed to the President Pro Tempore of the Senate. (2) is infrequent also, but generally does happen at least once in each V.P.'s term in office. (3) happens only once per term, after the general Presidential election. (4) actually happens relatively often - most presidents in the past 50 years have had at least one time during their term(s) that they temporarily assigned power to the V.P., and there are three instances of the V.P. permanently taking power (i.e. becoming the actual President) in the last 100 years.

Unofficially, the modern V.P. has several additional duties, which now occupy virtually all his time:

(1) Act as a legislative liason between the President and members of Congress. In this role, the V.P. generally acts as the President's "point man" for Congress, working up in Congress to gather votes and run strategies to pass the President's agenda.

(2) Be a "stand in" for the President in places where a formal head-of-state's presence is required, but the President himself is otherwise unavailable (or, it would be politically unwise for the President to personally attend). This can range from attending funerals or corinations, being a "special envoy" at diplomatic or trade discussions, or for delivering special communications to delicate political negotiations.

(3) Be the informal head-of-party for the political party which the President and V.P. belong. Generally, the President is extremely busy running the country, so the V.P. is often delegated the task of fundraising and political campaigning.

(4) Act as a key advisor to the President on all issues. This varies widely, and is often a function of the personal history between the V.P. and President - some Presidents have very close relationships with their V.P.'s (e.g. G.W.Bush and Cheny, or Clinton and Gore), while others have little or no real interaction (e.g. Nixon/Ford or H.W.Bush/Quayle ).

The informal powers of the V.P. are completely flexible, and are decided upon by the President and V.P. themselves; that is, they define the role of the V.P. based on a variety of factors, from the current geo-political state, to the inherent talents and disadvantages of both the President and V.P., and the level of familiarity and comfor the pair share.
politician (someone engaged in politics, especially as an elected representative)

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11y ago
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12y ago

The US Constitution provides official jobs for the Vice President. He is President of the US Senate and assumes the office of the President when the President dies, resigns, or is removed from office. If the President informs the President Pro Tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House that he is unable to discharge his duties as President, then the VP assumes the job of Acting President until the President informs the two that he has recovered from his illness.

As pointed out above, the Vice President only has two official powers: he acts as the President of the Senate, and is the designated successor for the President.

As President of the Senate, his job is mostly ceremonial (with minor administrative duties), as the President Pro Tempore of the Senate usually presides over Senate matters. There are three non-ceremonial powers, however: in the case of a tie vote (with the exception of impeachment trials), the Vice President is permitted to cast a vote to break this tie; in addition, the Vice President presides (i.e. acts as the guiding judge) over any impeachment trial in the Senate, save that of a President (where the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court presides), and he also presides over the official count of the Electoral College votes.

As the immediate Successor to the President, should anything cause the President to vacate (either temporarily, or permanantly) the powers of the President, the Vice President becomes the Acting President. There are a number of ways that the President can relinquish (or be forced to relinquish) the powers of President - they are answered by other questions. In the case of a temporary power transfer, the Vice President takes on the powers as Acting President, but retains the Office of Vice President (that is, he does not actually take over the Office of the President). Should the President be permanently removed (or resign) the Office of the President, the Vice President assumes both the Acting Presidential powers, and the Office of the President, relinquishing the Office of the Vice President (i.e. he gives up the Vice Presidency, and officially becomes the President). In either case, as Acting President, the Vice President cannot exercise any of the powers of the Office of Vice President (i.e. as Acting President, he can no longer be President of the Senate, et al.).

Unofficially, the modern Vice President has several jobs, which tend to vary based on the Vice President's relationship with both Congress and (more importantly) the President. In most administrations, the Vice President performs duties that would fall on the Head of State in a Parliamentary system - he acts as an official representative of the United States at various functions, where the President cannot attend (or would be inappropriate to attend), yet the US desires an official presence. He also acts as the senior Executive branch legislative liason with Congress.

In many ways, the Vice President acts as the President's gopher - he acts as a Presidential stand-in for many diplomatic and ceremonial duties of the President, as the main cheerleader (and behind-the-scenes negotiator) for the President's legislative agenda, and as sort of a super-Ambassador or Special Envoy to very important trade or diplomatic conferences where the President cannot attend.

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13y ago

One very important responsibility is to serve as president if the president dies, leaves office, or is unable to fulfill his or her duties.

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16y ago

He is the Presiding Officer of the Senate, but has no vote unless they be equally divided.

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9y ago

One of the Vice President's official duties is to preside over the vote count of the electoral college. The other official duty is to vote during the event of a Senate deadlock.

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11y ago

(1) to preside over the senate

(2) help decide the question of presidental disabilty

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Q: What jobs does the vice president have?
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