Mag Burress

Written by Mag Burress

Modified & Updated: 01 Jun 2024

Jessica Corbett

Reviewed by Jessica Corbett

18-fun-facts-about-congress
Source: Brookings.edu

Congress is a vital institution that plays a crucial role in the governance of the United States. Made up of the House of Representatives and the Senate, Congress is responsible for creating and passing legislation, representing the interests of the American people, and providing a system of checks and balances on the executive branch. While we often hear about the political debates and policy discussions that happen on Capitol Hill, there are also some fascinating and lesser-known facts about Congress that make it even more intriguing. In this article, we will dive into 18 fun facts about Congress that shed light on its history, traditions, and unique quirks. So, buckle up and get ready to explore this fascinating world of legislative power!

Key Takeaways:

  • Congress is made up of the Senate and the House of Representatives, with the power to make laws and impeach the President. They meet in the U.S. Capitol and have low approval ratings.
  • Members of Congress are older, serve different term lengths, and have a team of staff members to help with legislative tasks and constituent services. The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.
Table of Contents

The U.S. Congress is made up of two houses.

Congress is composed of the Senate and the House of Representatives, each with its own unique responsibilities and powers.

Congress is the legislative branch of the U.S. government.

As the legislative branch, Congress has the power to make laws, declare war, and oversee the executive branch.

The current U.S. Congress has 535 members.

There are 100 members in the Senate and 435 members in the House of Representatives.

Congress meets in the U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. Capitol is a historic symbol of American democracy and the meeting place for lawmakers.

The average age of a member of Congress is 57.8 years old.

Members of Congress tend to have more experience and are often older compared to the average age of the U.S. population.

Congress has the power to impeach the President.

If necessary, Congress can initiate impeachment proceedings against the President for “high crimes and misdemeanors.

Congressional terms last for two years.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms, while Senators serve six-year terms.

The longest filibuster in U.S. Senate history lasted for over 24 hours.

In 1957, Senator Strom Thurmond held the Senate floor for a record-breaking 24 hours and 18 minutes to protest the Civil Rights Act.

Congressional approval ratings are often low.

Public opinion of Congress can be unfavorable, with approval ratings often fluctuating below 50%.

Congressional sessions begin with the State of the Union address.

The President delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress, outlining the administration’s agenda and priorities.

Congress has the power to regulate commerce.

Under the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Congress has the authority to regulate trade and commerce among the states.

Congressional districts are redrawn every ten years.

Following the decennial census, congressional districts are reapportioned and redrawn to reflect changes in population distribution.

Members of Congress are exempt from certain laws.

There are some laws that do not apply to members of Congress, such as the Freedom of Information Act.

Congressional hearings provide oversight and investigation.

Congressional committees hold hearings to gather information, conduct investigations, and provide oversight of various issues and agencies.

Congressional seats can be vacant between elections.

If a seat in Congress becomes vacant, it may remain unfilled until the next scheduled election.

The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world.

The Library of Congress, located in Washington, D.C., is home to millions of books, manuscripts, and other valuable resources.

Congressional pensions exist for retired members.

Retired members of Congress are eligible for pensions based on their years of service and salary at retirement.

Congressional staff members play a crucial role.

Behind every member of Congress, there is a team of staff members who help with legislative tasks, constituent services, and more.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Congress is an integral part of the United States government, and is responsible for making important decisions that affect the entire nation. Understanding the inner workings and interesting facts about Congress can help us appreciate the complexities of our democratic system. From the size of the Capitol building to the various roles of members of Congress, there is much to learn and discover.So the next time you hear the word “Congress,” you’ll have a deeper understanding of the institution and the countless individuals who have played a part in shaping our nation’s history. These 18 fun facts about Congress shed light on the lighter side of this important governing body, allowing us to appreciate the quirks and intriguing aspects that make it an essential part of our democracy.

FAQs

Q: How many members are there in Congress?

A: Congress is composed of two houses – the Senate, which has 100 members (two per state), and the House of Representatives, which has 435 members.

Q: How long is a term for a member of Congress?

A: Senators serve a term of six years, while members of the House of Representatives serve a term of two years.

Q: How are members of Congress elected?

A: Members of the Senate are elected by the entire state they represent, while members of the House of Representatives are elected by specific districts within a state.

Q: Are there any age or citizenship requirements to be a member of Congress?

A: Yes, to be a Senator, you must be at least 30 years old and have been a U.S. citizen for at least nine years. For the House of Representatives, the requirements are at least 25 years old and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years.

Q: Who is the most senior member of Congress?

A: The most senior member of Congress is typically the member with the longest continuous service in either the Senate or the House of Representatives.

Q: How is legislation passed in Congress?

A: Legislation must be passed by a majority of both the House of Representatives and the Senate before it can be sent to the President to be signed into law.

Q: How many times has Congress passed amendments to the Constitution?

A: Since the Constitution was ratified in 1788, Congress has passed 27 amendments to the Constitution.

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