The powers of the Constitution that are specifically granted to the branches of government or to office holders are called expressed powers.
What are all of the expressed powers of the vice president?
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The vice president of the United States has almost no expressed powers given to him (or someday her) by the Constitution of the United States. The office is only mentioned eight times in the Constitution. It is mentioned more times in the amendments to the Constitution, but no further expressed powers are granted in those amendments.
The most important expressed power of the vice president is the power to become the president. The Constitution explicitly states that the vice president will become president if the president dies or is otherwise unable to function in his (or someday her) office. The Constitution as originally written states (Article II):
In Case of the Removal of the President from Office, or of his Death, Resignation, or Inability to discharge the Powers and Duties of the said Office, the Same shall devolve on the Vice President…
This has been changed slightly by the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, the relevant part of which simply reads:
In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the Vice President shall become President.
This is by far the most important expressed power of the vice president. The vice president’s only other expressed power is found in Article I of the Constitution. It says that
The Vice President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided.
This does give the vice president the power to break tie votes in the Senate, but this power is not terribly important and the vice president is rarely called upon to break such a tie.
From all of this, we can see that the vice president actually has very few expressed powers under the Constitution.
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