44 Facts About US Congress


US Congress has 535 voting members: 100 senators and 435 representatives.

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Article One of the United States Constitution requires that members of US Congress must be at least 25 years old or at least 30 years old, have been a citizen of the United States for seven or nine years, and be an inhabitant of the state which they represent.

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US Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the US Congress of the Confederation.

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Term US Congress can refer to a particular meeting of the legislature.

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US Congress reflects us in all our strengths and all our weaknesses.

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US Congress is essentially charged with reconciling our many points of view on the great public policy issues of the day.

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US Congress'storical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, which is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration.

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US Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government.

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US Congress had executive but not legislative authority, and the federal judiciary was confined to admiralty and lacked authority to collect taxes, regulate commerce, or enforce laws.

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System of seniority, in which long-time members of US Congress gained more and more power, encouraged politicians of both parties to seek long terms.

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Lame duck reforms according to the Twentieth Amendment reduced the power of defeated and retiring members of US Congress to wield influence despite their lack of accountability.

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President Roosevelt pushed his agenda in US Congress by detailing Executive Branch staff to friendly Senate committees .

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US Congress enacted Johnson's Great Society program to fight poverty and hunger.

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The Watergate Scandal had a powerful effect of waking up a somewhat dormant Congress which investigated presidential wrongdoing and coverups; the scandal "substantially reshaped" relations between the branches of government, suggested political scientist Bruce J Schulman.

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Norman Ornstein suggested that media prominence led to a greater emphasis on the negative and sensational side of US Congress, and referred to this as the tabloidization of media coverage.

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Sections One through Six describe how US Congress is elected and gives each House the power to create its own structure.

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US Congress has implied powers derived from the Constitution's Necessary and Proper Clause.

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US Congress has authority over financial and budgetary policy through the enumerated power to "lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States".

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US Congress can borrow money on the credit of the United States, regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the states, and coin money.

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US Congress has an important role in national defense, including the exclusive power to declare war, to raise and maintain the armed forces, and to make rules for the military.

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US Congress can establish post offices and post roads, issue patents and copyrights, fix standards of weights and measures, establish Courts inferior to the Supreme Court, and "make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof".

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Some critics have charged that US Congress has in some instances failed to do an adequate job of overseeing the other branches of government.

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US Congress has the exclusive power of removal, allowing impeachment and removal of the president, federal judges and other federal officers.

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US Congress has implied powers deriving from the Constitution's Necessary and Proper Clause which permit US Congress to "make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into Execution the foregoing Powers, and all other Powers vested by this Constitution in the Government of the United States, or in any Department or Officer thereof".

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US Congress is slow, open, divided, and not well matched to handle more rapid executive action or do a good job of overseeing such activity, according to one analysis.

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Constitution concentrates removal powers in the US Congress by empowering and obligating the House of Representatives to impeach executive or judicial officials for "Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors".

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Some members of US Congress are elected by their peers to be officers of these committees.

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The Library had mostly law books when it was burned by a British raiding party during the War of 1812, but the library's collections were restored and expanded when US Congress authorized the purchase of Thomas Jefferson's private library.

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US Congress has alternated between periods of constructive cooperation and compromise between parties, known as bipartisanship, and periods of deep political polarization and fierce infighting, known as partisanship.

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Term of US Congress is divided into two "sessions", one for each year; US Congress has occasionally been called into an extra or special session.

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The Constitution requires US Congress to meet at least once each year and forbids either house from meeting outside the Capitol without the consent of the other house.

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Joint sessions of the United States US Congress occur on special occasions that require a concurrent resolution from House and Senate.

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Generally, members who have been in US Congress longer have greater seniority and therefore greater power.

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Voting within US Congress can take many forms, including systems using lights and bells and electronic voting.

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Incumbent members of US Congress running for reelection have strong advantages over challengers.

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Critics contend that members of US Congress are more likely to attend to the needs of heavy campaign contributors than to ordinary citizens.

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Since members of US Congress must advertise heavily on television, this usually involves negative advertising, which smears an opponent's character without focusing on the issues.

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We would not have survived as a nation without a US Congress that represented the diverse interests of our society, conducted a public debate on the major issues, found compromises to resolve conflicts peacefully, and limited the power of our executive, military, and judicial institutions.

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Also, members of US Congress often appear self-serving as they pursue their political careers and represent interests and reflect values that are controversial.

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Scandals, even when they involve a single member, add to the public's frustration with US Congress and have contributed to the institution's low ratings in opinion polls.

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Since 2006, US Congress has dropped ten points in the Gallup confidence poll with only nine percent having "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in their legislators.

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Franking privilege allows members of US Congress to send official mail to constituents at government expense.

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From 1789 to 1815, members of US Congress received only a daily payment of $6 while in session.

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US Congress has been criticized for trying to conceal pay raises by slipping them into a large bill at the last minute.

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