United States Congress
The United States Congress
is the bicameral legislature
of the federal government
of the United States
, and consists of two chambers: the House of Representatives
and the Senate
. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol
in Washington, D.C.
Both senators and representatives are chosen through direct election
, though vacancies in the Senate may be filled by a gubernatorial
appointment. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 representatives and 100 senators. The House of Representatives has six non-voting members
representing Puerto Rico
, American Samoa
, the Northern Mariana Islands
, the U.S. Virgin Islands
, and the District of Columbia
in addition to its 435 voting members. Although they cannot vote in the full house, these members can address the house, sit and vote in congressional committees, and introduce legislation.
The members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a "''district''". Congressional districts
using the United States Census
results, provided that each state has at least ''one congressional representative. Each state'', regardless of population or size, has two senators. Currently, there are 100 senators representing the 50 states. 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.
To be eligible for election, a candidate must be aged at least 25 (House) or 30 (Senate), have been a citizen of the United States for seven (House) or nine (Senate) years, and be an inhabitant of the state
which they represent.
The Congress was created by the Constitution of the United States
and first met in 1789, replacing in its legislative function the Congress of the Confederation
. Although not legally mandated, in practice since the 19th century, Congress members are typically affiliated with the Republican Party
or with the Democratic Party
and only rarely with a third party
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