Cynthia Brown, age 1:4, of San Francisco, Calif., for her question:
The Constitution gives three qualifications that a United States senator must have: be at least 30 years old, be a citizen of the United States for at least nine years and be a resident of the state from which he or she is elected.
A senator becomes a member of the very select upper house of the Congress, the Senate. Since there are only two senators from each state, regardless of population, the total membership of the important law making group is only 400.
Senators are elected for terms of six years. Only about one third of the senators are elected at any one time. This prevents a complete turnover of the Senate.
Presiding over the Senate is the vice president of the United States. He is not a member of the group and is allowed to vote only in case of a tie.
Senators, along with members of the House of Representatives, have a considerable part in the nation's lawmaking operation. In addition, they serve as members of an advisory council to the president of the United States.
The Senate carries on much of its work by means of committees. There are .'i8 permanent or standing committees.
Permanent committees handle aeronautical and space sciences, agriculture, appropriations, armed services, banking, budget, finance, foreign relations, government operations, interior affairs, interstate and foreign commerce, judiciary, labor, post office and civil service, public works, rules, veterans' affairs and the District of Columbia.
The Senate also has special committees and joint committees with the House.
Senators usually have great influence in their own states and they are often persons of outstanding ability. Their six year term of office provides them much independence since they do not immediately have to start thinking about re election.
Each senator receives $60,662.50 each year for his services. In addition, he also receives an office in one of the two Senate Office buildings as well as allowances for travel, office upkeep, secretaries' salaries and similar expenses.
Senate rules give senators much more flexibility than members of the House receive. Full debate is permitted and senators are not seriously checked by their leaders. This allows them time and freedom to analyze and discuss problems.
The president nominates more than 25,000 federal officers with the approval of the Senate. These include some of the most important positions in the executive branch of the government.
The Constitution states that the ratification or approval of treaties requires the advice and consent of two thirds of the senators.