Members of Congress

The United States Congress has an upper chamber called the Senate and a lower chamber called the House of Representatives (or “House” for short) which share the responsibilities of the legislative process.


The Senate

The 50 states elect 2 senators each for staggered 6-year terms. A senator represents between 1 and 37 million people, depending on their state’s population.

The day-to-day activities of the Senate are controlled largely by the political party holding the most seats, called the “majority party.“ Here is a count of senators by party:

Democrats 53
Republicans 45
Independents 2
Total 100

The House of Representatives

The country is also divided into 435 congressional districts with a population of about 710,000 each. Each district elects a representative (aka congressperson) to the House for a 2-year term.

As in the Senate, the day-to-day activities of the House are controlled by the political party holding the most seats, called the “majority party.“ Here is a count of congresspeople by party:

Republicans 233
Democrats 199
Vacancies 3
Total 435

In addition, the District of Columbia and the U.S.’s island territories elect a total of 6 delegates to the House with limited voting privileges. Puerto Rico’s delegate is called the Resident Commissioner.

Congressional Sessions

Congress works in two-year sessions tied to the elections. Each session is actually called a Congress and begins in the January of the year following an election.

We are currently in the 113th Congress which began on Jan 03, 2013. The 112th Congress ended on Jan 03, 2013.