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Powers & Procedures

Under the Constitution, the House of Representatives has the power to impeach a government official, in effect serving as prosecutor. The Senate has the sole power to conduct impeachment trials, essentially serving as jury and judge.  Since 1789 the Senate has tried seventeen federal officials, including two presidents.
The Constitution provides that the president "shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States... (Article 2, Section 2)"  The Senate has always jealously guarded its power to review and approve or reject presidential appointees to executive and judicial branch posts.
The Constitution gives the Senate the power to approve, by a two-thirds vote, treaties made by the executive branch. The Senate has rejected relatively few of the hundreds of treaties it has considered, although many have died in committee or been withdrawn by the president. The Senate may also amend a treaty or adopt changes to a treaty. The president may also enter into executive agreements with foreign nations that are not subject to Senate approval.
Expulsion and Censure
Article I, Section 5, of the United States Constitution provides that each house of Congress may "...punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member." Since 1789, the Senate has expelled only fifteen of its entire membership and has censured nine. A censure is a formal statement of disapproval, but does not remove a senator from office.
Filibuster and Cloture
The Senate has a long history of using the filibuster -- a term dating back to the 1850s in the United States -- to delay debate or block legislation.  Unlimited debate remained in place in the Senate until 1917, when the Senate adopted Rule 22 that allowed the Senate to end a debate with a two-thirds majority vote -– a tactic known as "cloture." In 1975, the Senate reduced the number of votes required for cloture from two-thirds (67) to three-fifths (60) of the 100-member Senate.
Senate Investigations
Congress has conducted investigations of malfeasance in the executive branch–and elsewhere in American society–since 1792. The need for congressional investigation remains a critical ingredient for restraining government and educating the public.

  Uproar Over Senate Treaty Approval
  A Chief Justice Rejected
  To Arrest an Impeached Senator
  Senate Adopts First Impeachment Rules
  Senate Censures President
  Senate Reverses a Presidential Censure
  First Cabinet Rejection
  The Senate Votes on a Presidential Impeachment
  Senator Censured in Lobbyist Case
  Supreme Court Nominees Refuse to Testify
  Wayne Morse Sets Filibuster Record
  Civil Rights Filibuster Ended
  Filibuster Derails Supreme Court Appointment