United States Congress

United States Congress
118th United States Congress
Coat of arms or logo
House of Representatives
FoundedMarch 4, 1789 (1789-03-04)
Preceded byCongress of the Confederation
New session started
January 3, 2023
Patty Murray (D)
since January 3, 2023
Chuck Schumer (D)
since January 20, 2021
Mike Johnson (R)
since October 25, 2023
Steve Scalise (R)
since January 3, 2023
Senate political groups
Majority (51)
  •   Democratic (48)
  •   Independent (3)[a]

Minority (49)

House of Representatives political groups
Majority (219)

Minority (212)

Last Senate election
November 8, 2022
November 8, 2022
Next Senate election
November 5, 2024
November 5, 2024
Meeting place
United States Capitol
Washington, D.C.
United States of America
United States Constitution, article I

The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is bicameral, composed of a lower body, the House of Representatives, and an upper body, the Senate. It meets in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Senators and representatives are chosen through direct election, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a governor's appointment. Congress[b] has 535 voting members: 100 senators and 435 representatives. The U.S. vice president has a vote in the Senate only when senators are evenly divided. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members.[4]

The sitting of a Congress is for a two-year term, at present, beginning every other January. Elections are held every even-numbered year on Election Day. The members of the House of Representatives are elected for the two-year term of a Congress. The Reapportionment Act of 1929 established that there be 435 representatives, and the Uniform Congressional Redistricting Act requires that they be elected from single-member constituencies or districts. It is also required that the congressional districts be apportioned among states by population every ten years using the U.S. census results, provided that each state has at least one congressional representative. Each senator is elected at-large in their state for a six-year term, with terms staggered, so every two years approximately one-third of the Senate is up for election. Each state, regardless of population or size, has two senators, so currently, there are 100 senators for the 50 states.

Article One of the U.S. Constitution requires that members of Congress must be at least 25 years old (House) or at least 30 years old (Senate), have been a citizen of the U.S. for seven (House) or nine (Senate) years, and be an inhabitant of the state which they represent. Members in both chambers may stand for re-election an unlimited number of times.

The Congress was created by the U.S. Constitution and first met in 1789, replacing the Congress of the Confederation in its legislative function. Although not legally mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are typically affiliated with one of the two major parties, the Democratic Party or the Republican Party, and only rarely with a third party or independents affiliated with no party. In the case of the latter, the lack of affiliation with a political party does not mean that such members are unable to caucus with members of the political parties. Members can also switch parties at any time, although this is quite uncommon.

  1. ^ "Maine Independent Angus King To Caucus With Senate Democrats". Politico. November 14, 2012. Archived from the original on December 8, 2020. Retrieved November 28, 2020. Angus King of Maine, who cruised to victory last week running as an independent, said Wednesday that he will caucus with Senate Democrats. [...] The Senate's other independent, Bernie Sanders of Vermont, also caucuses with the Democrats.
  2. ^ Sinema, Kyrsten. "Sen. Kyrsten Sinema: Why I'm registering as an independent". The Arizona Republic. Archived from the original on December 9, 2022. Retrieved December 9, 2022.
  3. ^ Garner, Bryan A. (2011). Garner's Dictionary of Legal Usage (3rd ed.). Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 203. ISBN 9780195384208. Retrieved October 22, 2023.
  4. ^ "Membership of the 116th Congress: A Profile". Congressional Research Service. p. 4. Archived from the original on January 14, 2021. Retrieved March 5, 2020. Congress is composed of 541 individuals from the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Guam, the U.S. Virgin Islands, American Samoa, the Northern Mariana Islands, and Puerto Rico.

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