BRIEFING February 2020

United States : Facts and Figures

The Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the (upper chamber). The formal powers of the Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making , collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the Congress convening the following January. The current, 116th, Congress was elected in November 2018 and was convened in January 2019. The US has a long-standing two-party system, which means that nearly all members of Congress belong to either the Republican or Democratic parties, while independent members (if any) generally align or sit with one of the two main parties. At the most recent simultaneous US Congressional and Presidential elections, back in November 2016, the Republicans won majorities in both houses of Congress, as well as winning the . However, the Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives at the November 2018 mid-term elections. This EPRS Briefing is designed to provide key facts and figures about the US Congress as an institution, including relevant comparisons with the European (EP). The back page contains a map showing the location of the various Congressional buildings on , home to the Congress in DC. Congress overall

Composition of the US Congress The US Congress has 535 voting members – 435 Representatives and 100 Senators – representing about 330 million people in the 50 US states. Elected directly by the people, on the basis of individual, single-member , the 435 Representatives serve a two-year term. Each of the 50 House Senate states has two Senators, who sit for a six-year term. Elections are held, on a rolling basis, for one third of the 100 Senate 435 100 seats every two years.

Democrats Republicans 280 252

View of Capitol Hill from the west. ©, Prints and Photographs Division. Photograph by Carol Highsmith [LC-HS503-4764].

This is an updated version of a previous Briefing, on the 115th Congress, by Giulio Sabbati and Micaela Del Monte, published in December 2017.

EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service Authors: Giulio Sabbati and Matthew Parry - Graphics: Lucille Killmayer PE 630.354 - February 2020 EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service

Representation Number of Representaves per ME WA 2 by state 10 MT VT ND 1 NH2 1 1 MN Each US state returns at least OR NY MA 9 ID 5 8 WI MI 27 SD RI one Representative, with the 2 WY 8 2 1 14 PA CT5 size of delegations to the 1 IA 18 NJ12 NV NE 4 CongressIN OH overall House depending on total IL 16 DE 1 CA 4 UT 3 9 WV VA 4 CO 18 3 11 MD 8 state population. The House 53 KS MO KY 7 4 8 6 NC DC0 also has six non-voting 13 TN 9 members: a resident Puerto AZ NM OK SC 9 AR 7 3 5 4 AL GA Rican Commissioner, and MS 7 HI 2 4 14 five delegates – one each for TX LA 6 Washington DC, American 36 FL Samoa, , the North AK 1 27 Mariana Islands, and the US House Senate 400 km Virgin Islands.1 435 200100 mi Party balance in the 116th Congress (January 2019 to January 2021) The party winning the elections in each chamber of the US Congress is identified as the ‘majority’, and their political opponents as the ‘minority’. This distinction is important, as the majority party holds the most Democrats Republicans significant leadership positions, such asSpeaker of the House, and in effect also appoints all the chairs. 280 252 Following the NovemberSize of 2018 political elections, groupsthe 116th Congress in the openedCongress with 280 Democrats, two independent Senators who with the Democrats, and 252 Republicans, distributed in the two chambers as follows: 2

Total 199 Republicans 435 seats House 235 Democrats 46% 54% Note: the House seat tallies do not sum to the full 435 House seats because one seat was vacant at the opening of the 116th Congress

TotalSize of53 politicalRepublicans groups in the Congress 100 seats Senate (114th47 Democrat ands (including 115th independents) congress) 53% 47%

Compared to the preceding 115th Congress, Republicans gained one seat in the Senate and lost 42 in the House at the November 2018 elections.

116th congress 199 53 47 235 2019

115th congress 241 52 48 194 2017 - 2019

Republicans 114th congress 247 54 46 188 2014 - 2016 Democrats Data source: U.S. House of Representatives and Senate.

2 SenateSenate

IndipendenIndipendent t IndipendenIndipendent t HouseHouse

United States Congress: Facts and Figures DemocratDemocrats s DemocratDemocrats s History of party balance in the US Congress Between the election of to the US Presidency in November 2016 and the mid-term elections of November 2018, the Republicans controlled both chambers of Congress,RepublicansRepublicans as well as the White House. However, this situation has been relatively rare since 1969 – it has only occurred in seven of RepublicansRepublicans the 25 two-year terms. For example, and enjoyed a majority in both chambers of Congress only in the first two years of their eight-year terms, while and George H.W.

Bush were never in this situation. Since the mid-term Houseelections of November 2018, President Trump enjoys a majority only in the Senate.

Congress Year House of Representatives Senate US President IndipendenIndipendent t Senate 88th 1963 House176 258 34 66 John F. Kennedy/Lyndon Johnson * Democrats Republicans 89th 1965 140 295 32 68 Lyndon Johnson 242 293 Democrats Republicans 90th 1967 187 248 36 64 Lyndon Johnson 242 293 Senate Democrats Republicans 91st 1969 192 243 43 57 242 293 Democrats Democrats Republicans Democrats 92nd 1971 180 255 44 54 + Richard Nixon 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 93rd 1973 192 243 42 56 + Richard Nixon/ 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 94th 1975 144 291 37 61 + Gerald Ford 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 95th 1977 143 292 38 61 Jimmy Carter 242 293 * Democrats Republicans RepublicansRepublicans 96th 1979 157 278 41 58 Jimmy Carter 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 97th 1981 192 243 53 46 Ronald Reagan 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 98th 1983 166 269 55 45 Ronald Reagan 242 293 Democrats Republicans 99th 1985 181 254 47 53 Ronald Reagan 242 293 Democrats Republicans 100th 1987 177 258 45 55 Ronald Reagan 242 293 Democrats Republicans 101th 1989 175 260 45 55 George H.W. Bush 242 293 Democrats Republicans 102nd 1991 167 267 44 56 George H.W. Bush 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 103rd 1993 176 258 43 57 Bill Clinton 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 104th 1995 230 204 52 48 Bill Clinton 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 105th 1997 226 207 55 45 Bill Clinton 242 293 ** Democrats Republicans 106th 1999 223 211 55 45 Bill Clinton 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 107th 2001 220 213 50 50 George W. Bush 242 293 ** Democrats Republicans 108th 2003 229 205 51 48 George W. Bush 242 293 * * Democrats Republicans 109th 2005 233 201 55 44 George W. Bush 242 293 * * Democrats Republicans 110th 2007 202 233 49 49 + George W. Bush 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 111th 2009 178 257 41 57 + Barack Obama 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 112th 2011 242 193 47 51 + Barack Obama 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 113th 2013 234 201 45 53 Barack Obama 242 293 * Democrats Republicans 114th 2015 247 188 54 44 Barack Obama 242 293 ** Democrats Republicans 115th 2017 241 194 52 46 Donald Trump 242 293 ** Democrats Republicans 116th 2019 199 235 53 45 ** Donald Trump 242 293 Democrats Republicans 242 293 * Independent + Conservative Each symbol represents an individual Member who was not from either party. Source: House of Representatives, Senate and The White House.

Acronyms for US states (AL), (AK), Arizona (AZ), Arkansas (AR), (CA), (CO), Connecticut (CT), Delaware (DE), of Columbia (DC), (FL), Georgia (GA), (HI), (ID), (IL), (IN), (IA), (KS), (KY), (LA), (ME), Maryland (MD), (MA), (MI), Minnesota (MN), (MS), Missouri (MO), (MT), Nebraska (NE), Nevada (NV), New Hampshire (NH), New Jersey (NJ), New (NM), (NY), (NC), North Dakota (ND), (OH), (OK), Oregon (OR), Pennsylvania (PA), Rhode Island (RI), South Carolina (SC), (SD), (TN), (TX), (UT), (VT), Virginia (VA), Washington (WA), (WV), (WI) and (WY). 3 EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service

Elections to the US Congress

Mid-term elections Seats lost and won Houseduring mid-term elections – Seats lost or won by the

President’s party Senate Year President HouseHouse Senate Mid-term elections to Congress often 1962 John F. Kennedy -4 3 have a different political dynamic Democrats Republicans 1966 Lyndon Johnson 242 293 -47 -4 and a lower turnout to those held in Democrats RepublicanSenas te presidential election years, with the party 1970 Richard Nixon 242 293 -12 2 Democrats Republicans of the President usually losing seats, 1974 Gerald Ford (Nixon)242 293 -48 -5 Democrats Republicans sometimes in considerable numbers. 1978 Jimmy Carter 242 293 -15 -3 Democrats Republicans The chart on the right shows the 1982 Ronald Reagan 242 293 -26 1 Democrats Republicans outcome of all mid-term elections to the 1986 Ronald Reagan 242 293 -5 -8 ∆ Democrats Republicans US Congress since 1962. 1990 George H. W. Bush 242 293 -8 -1 Democrats Republicans Data source: House of Representatives and Senate. 1994 Bill Clinton 242 293 -52 ∆ -8 ∆ Democrats Republicans 1998 Bill Clinton 242 293 5 0 Democrats Republicans 2002 George W. Bush 242 293 8 2 Democrats Republicans 2006 George W. Bush 242 293 -30 ∆ -6 ∆ Democrats Republicans 2010 Barack Obama 242 293 -63 ∆ -6 Democrats Republicans 2014 Barack Obama 242 293 -13 -9 ∆ Democrats Republicans 2018 Donald Trump 242 293 -42 ∆ 1 Democrats Republicans 242 293 ∆ Change in overall control Trends in turnout in US Congressional and EP elections3 Since 1979 (the year of the first EP direct elections), voter participation has generally fallen over time in both the US and EU, though the most recent US Congressional mid-term elections, in November 2018, and the most recent European Parliament elections, in May 2019, were both significant exceptions. The overall trend is consistent with a decline in participation in national elections in most democracies since 1945, from a post-war average of around 80 percent, to a figure of around 60 percent today. In general, on both sides of the Atlantic, elections in which voters simultaneously decide who runs the executive branch of government, as well as who controls the , attract a higher turnout. The US mid-term elections, like European Parliament elections, generally see turnout which is 15 to 20 percentage points lower than in US presidential elections or in national elections in Europe, in both of which control of the executive is being determined.

100% Parliamentary elections in EU Member States US Congress (Presidential election years) 80%

60% US Congress (mid-terms) European Parliament 40%


0% 1979 1984 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009 2014 2019

Data source: IDEA. For reference, turnout in both EP and national parliamentary elections is calculated as the total number of votes as a percentage of the total number of registered voters. All national elections taking place in the same year are totalled to generate an annual EU-wide percentage. 4 : Facts and Figures

Voting methods for Congress To boost turnout in US elections, many states have introduced alternative or convenience systems for casting votes. Overall three methods are used:

• 39 states and the District of Columbia allow early Voting method in Congressional elections ME voting in person during a WA MT VT designated period before ND NH MN Election Day, without the OR NY MA ID WI MI SD RI voter needing to provide WY PA CT any justification for voting IA NE IN OH NJ NV IL early. WV DE CA UT VA CO MD KS MO KY • All states mail absentee NC DC ballot papers to voters at AZ TN SC NM OK AR AL their request (justification MS GA HI is required in 20 states). LA TX FL Postal ballot papers are • AK 400 km automatically mailed to 200 mi voters eligible for mail voting. (Five states use All-mail voting Early voting and no-excuse absentee voting No early voting: excuse required for absentee such voting for all their Early voting: excuse required for absentee voting No early voting but no-excuse absentee voting elections: Colorado, Hawaii, Oregon, Utah and Source: National Conference of State (NCSL), Absentee and Early Voting. Washington).

House leadership The is the political and parliamentary leader of the House of Representatives. Elected by the House every two years, at the beginning of each new Congress, the Speaker is the only House leadership position mentioned in the US Constitution (Article 1). The Speaker for the 116th Congress is Representative (Democrat, CA). The and the House Republican Conference play roles analogous to political groups in the European Parliament. For the 116th Congress, the House leadership positions include, for the majority Democrats and for the minority Republicans, the following individuals:

Majority Democrats Minority Republicans

Speaker: Nancy Pelosi (CA) Republican Leader: Kevin McCarthy (CA)

Majority Leader: (MD) Republican : (LA)

Democratic : (NY) Republican Conference Chair: (WY)

Majority Whip: James Clyburn (SC) Republican Policy Committee Chair: (AL)

Assistant Speaker: Ben Ray Luján (NM)

Source: House Leadership.

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Senate leadership In the Senate, there are two constitutionally mandated officers: the Vice-President of the United States, who serves as the President of the Senate (currently ), and the President pro tempore, who presides over the Senate in the Vice-President’s absence, currently (Republican, IA). The other Senate leadership positions include the following individuals:

Majority Republicans Minority Democrats

Democratic Leader and Chair of Republican Leader: Mitch McConnell (KY) Charles Schumer (NY) the Conference:

Republican Conference Chair: (WY) Assistant Democratic Leader: (WA)

Republican Majority Whip: (SD) Democratic Whip: Richard Durbin (IL)

Republican Policy Committee Chair of Policy and (MO) (MI) Chair: Communications Committee: Source: Senate Leadership.

Congressional Much of the legislative and oversight work of the US Congress is undertaken in the committees of each house. There are 20 committees in the House of Representatives and 17 in the Senate, together with four joint committees between the two chambers. Their names, chairs, ranking members and total numbers of members are set out below. Most committees have several sub-committees: there are a total of 98 sub-committees in the House and 56 in the Senate.

Composition of House Committees Joint Committees House Senate Name of Committee Chair (D) (R) Number of Representatives Repubblicans HouseArmed Services (WA) (TX) 57 31 26 Transportation and Infrastructure Peter DeFazio (OR) (MO) 67 37 30 Financial Services (CA) Patrick McHenry (NC) 60 34 26 Senate Energy and Commerce DemocratFrank Pallone,s Jr. (NJ) (OR) 55 31 24 Appropriations (NY) (TX) 53 30 23 Foreign Affairs (NY) Michael McCaul (TX) 47 26 21 Agriculture (MN) K. Michael Conaway (TX) 47 26 21 Natural Resources Raúl Grijalva (AZ) (UT) 45 26 19 Oversight and Reform DemocratCarolyn Maloneys (NY) Jim Jordan (OH) 42 24 18 Judiciary Jerrold Nadler (NY) Doug Collins (GA) 41 24 17 Education and Labor Robert Scott (VA) (NC) 50 28 22 Ways and Means (MA) (TX) 42 25 17 Science, Space and TechnologyRepubblicans (TX) Frank Lucas (OK) 39 22 17 Budget (KY) (AR) 36 22 14 Homeland Security Bennie G. Thompson (MS) Mike Rogers (AL) 31 18 13 Small Business Nydia M. Velázquez (NY) (OH) 24 14 10 ' Affairs (CA) David P. Roe (TN) 28 16 12 Rules DemocratJames McGoverns (MA) (OK) 13 9 4 Ethics Theodore Deutch (FL) (TX) 10 5 5 House Administration (CA) Rodney Davis (IL) 9 6 3


6 United States Congress: Facts and Figures

House Composition of Senate Committees Joint Committees House Senate Name of Committee Chair (R) Ranking Member (D) Number of Senators Repubblicans Senate Appropriations (AL) (VT) 31 16 15 Armed Services James Inhofe (OK) Jack Reed (RI) 27 14 13 Commerce, Science, and Transportation (MS) (WA) 26 14 12 Democrats Finance Chuck Grassley (IA) (OR) 28 15 13 Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs (ID) (OH) 25 13 12 Budget Michael Enzi (WY) Bernard Sanders (VT) 21 11 10 Energy and Natural Resources (AK) (WV) 20 11 9 Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (TN) Patty Murray (WA) 23 12 11 Democrats Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry (KS) Debbie Stabenow (MI) 20 11 9 Environment and Public Works John Barrasso (WY) Thomas Carper (DE) 21 11 10 Foreign Relations James Risch (ID) Robert Menendez (NJ) 22 12 10 Judiciary (SC) (CA) 22 12 10 RepubblicansRules and Administration Roy Blunt (MO) (MN) 19 10 9 Small Business and Entrepreneurship (FL) Benjamin Cardin (MD) 19 10 9 Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Ron Johnson (WI) (MI) 14 8 6 Veterans' Affairs Johnny Isakson (GA) (MT) 17 9 8 Indian Affairs (ND) (NM) 13 7 6 Democrats Composition of Joint Committees Joint Committees House Senate Joint Committee Chair (R) Vice Chair (R) Repubblicans RepubblicansEconomic Sen. Mike Lee (UT) Sen. (NM) 10 6 4 Library Sen. Roy Blunt (MO) Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN) 5 32 Printing Sen. Roy Blunt (MO) (Vice-Chair) Sen. Amy Klobuchar (MN) 5 32 Democrats Taxation Sen. Chuck Grassley (IA) (Vice-Chair) Sen. Ron Wyden (OR) 5 32 Source: House of Representatives and Senate.

Profile of Members of the 116th Congress Democrats New MembersNew of members Congress of the Congress Newly elected members of Congress are often referred to as ‘freshmen’. There are a total of 96 first-term th membersAge of members in the 116 Congress. Repubblicans New Members Re-elected Members 87 20.2 % 79.8 % House

9 9.2 % 90.8 % Senate Age of members Democrats New Members Re-elected Members 32 16.2 % 83.8 % Republicans

House 55 23.6 % 76.4 % Democrats

Repubblicans 7 13.2 % 86.8 % Republicans

Senate 2 4.4 % 95.6 % Democrats Source: House of Representatives and Senate. 7 Women in Congress EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service

Women in the US Congress A total of 126 women voting members were elected to the 116th Congress: 101 to the House (88 Democrats and 13 Republicans) and 25 to the Senate (17 Democrats and 8 Republicans). Four non- voting members in the House (three Delegates; one Resident Commissioner) are also women.4

Republicans 8.3 %

Democrats 37.5 %

House and Senate

Republicans 8.3 % (21/252)

Democrats 37.5 % (105/280)

Source: House of Representatives.

Women in the US Congress and European Parliament The proportion of female members of the US Congress and of the European Parliament have both increased over time, with the former consistently having fewer women than the latter. Congress counted only 3 % female members in 1979, although the proportion has risen to 23.6 % this term. The proportion of women in the EuropeanWomen Parliament in the atC ongressthe start of and each EP parliamentary term has also shown steady growth, from 16.6 % in 1979, to 40.6 % in the current (2019-2024) term.

50 % 40.6 % 40 % European Parliament

30 % 23.6 % 20 % 16.6%

10 % 3.0% US Congress 0 % 1979 1984 1989 1994 1999 2004 2009 2014 2019

Source: Women in Congress, Historical data, US House of Representatives.

8 United States Congress: Facts and Figures

Age of Members of Congress The US ConstitutionAge of states members that, to serve of thein office, Congress a Representative must be at least25 years old and a Senator at least 30 years old. At the beginning of the 116th Congress, the average age of members in the House was 58 years, and in the Senate, 63 years.

Age of members Minimum Average Maximum

Age 29 58 85 House

Age 39 63 85 Senate

Source: Membership of the 116th Congress: a Profile, CRS, 4 November 2019.

Ethnic origin of Members of Congress The 116th Congress is the most diverse in history, with a record presence of members of African American, Hispanic/Latino and Asian origin. The 116th Congress is the fifth Congress in a row that is more diverse than its immediate predecessor. However, the percentage of non-white members voting (around 22 %) is below the 39 % share ofEthnical the US population. origin5 The of House the is significantlyCongress more diverse than the Senate.

White African Hispanic and Asian Age of members Americans Latino Americans Americans: 3 %

75 % 12 % 10 % House

89 % Senate

White Hispanic and African Latino Americans: 5 % Americans: 3 % Americans: 3 % Note: Asian Americans include members of Pacific Islander descent. Sources: Pew Research, February 2019.

Religious affiliation of Members of Congress Just over 88 % of MembersReligious of Congress of membersconsider themselves of tothe be Christians, Congress of whom almost 55 % are Protestant (mostly Baptist and Methodist). Judaism, , Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam are also represented in Congress. While only 0.2 % of Congressional members have no religious affiliation, 23 % of the US population do not identify with a specific faith.

Protestant: 54 % Protestant: 60 %

House Senate Catholic: 32 % Catholic: 22 % Jewish: 6 % Jewish: 8 % Mormon: 1 % Others: 6 % Mormon: 4 % Others: 6 % Orthodox Christian, Hindu, Orthodox Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Muslim and una liated Buddhist, Muslim and una liated Source: Pew Research, January 2019.

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The work of the 115th Congress (January 2017 to January 2019) The work of members of Congress is structured around two types of day: work on Capitol Hill, when Congress is in session, and ‘districtAc tivitesdays’ in their in constituencies. the Congress Each may introduce bills and resolutions.6 Between 1973 and 2016, each member introduced an average of 20 proposals per Congress. In total, 13 556 proposed measures (bills, various types of ) were introduced in the 115th Congress (2017-2019), but only 3 % of them were enacted.7


366 91 516 3 13 556 443 0 Days Hours House 6


92 182 3 386 Bills Laws Bills Days Hours Senate 6 introduced Enacted vetoed Source: Résumé of Congressional Activity of the 115th Congress.

Staff levels in the US Congress ‘Staffers’ working on committees, in members' personal offices and in other Congressional roles help the 435 Representatives and 100 Senators in their daily work. In 2016, there were 9 420 staff working in the House of Representatives and 5 749 staff in the Senate. Over time, the proportion of committee staff appears to have decreased and personal staff increased (including in districts/states), notably in the Senate.

House Senate 12 12

10 10 In 1 000 In 1 000

8 8

6 6

4 4

2 2

0 0 1980 1986 1992 1998 2004 2010 2016 1980 1986 1992 1998 2004 2010 2016

Commissions Committees O cers and o cials Committees O cers and o cials House Members’ o ces Leadership Senators' o ces Leadership

Source: CRS Report on Senate and House of Representatives Staff Levels in Member, Committee, Leadership, and Other Offices, 1977-2016, 13 September 2016.

10 Lorem ipsum United States Congress: Facts and Figures

Cost of the House of Representatives Funding for the House of Representatives in fiscal year (FY) 2019 amounted to €1 073 million (US$1 233 million). Almost half this figure was devoted to the Members' Representational Allowance (MRA), supporting RepresentativesHouse in theirof representatives official and representational appropriations duties (including the cost of staff, mail, travel, office equipment and district office rental).

Age of members

Members’ Representational Allowance 499 Other allowances and expenses 221 € million Salaries, o cers, and employees 192 Committee employees 131 House Leadership o ces 22 Total House of Representatives' Intern allowance 8 appropriations: € 1 073 million

Source: CRS Report on Legislative Branch: FY2019 Appropriations, 13 November 2018.

US Congressional agencies A number of specialised bodies support the detailed work of members of Congress – notably the Congressional Research Service (CRS), which provides independent, non- policy and legal analysis to members individually and collectively; the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), which provides comparable analysis of budgetary and macro-economic issues; and the Government Accountability Office (GAO), which investigates and reports to Congress on how US taxpayers' money is spent by the federal government and assists Congressional committees with oversight of the executive. In total, these three Congressional agencies have more than 4 000 staff and spend around €700 million (FY 2019).

Financial resources Staff

€ million US$ million (full-time equivalent posts) CRS 110 126 621 CBO 44 51 258 GAO 553 636 3 150 Total 707 813 4 029

Source: CRS Report on Legislative Branch: FY2019 Appropriations, Library of Congress budget justification for FY 2020;CBO appropriation request for FY 20120; Budget requests for GAO for FY 2020 (exchange rate €1 = US$1.1493).

MAIN REFERENCES Congressional Profile, Office of the , US House of Representatives, 20 December 2019.Résumé of Congressional Activity, First and Second Sessions of 115th Congress, , Daily Digest.


1 By , Delegates’ term of service is also two years, and the Resident Commissioner serves for four years. 2 Tallies as at the opening of the 116th Congress in January 2019. In the Senate, two Independents caucus with Democrats. Following the of four Representatives and the death of a fifth, five seats are vacant in the House and three further vacancies have already been filled, as of January 2020. 3 Since 1972, US citizens (both native and naturalised) must be at least 18 years old to vote. Every state except North Dakota requires eligible voters to formally register to exercise their right to vote. 4 To date, only one state, Vermont, has never returned a woman to the House or the Senate. Mississippi returned a woman for the first time in 2018, when Cindy Hyde-Smith was elected to the US Senate. 5 The 116th Congress includes 24 Representatives and five Senatorsborn abroad. Nine Representatives were born in Europe. 6 Bill, resolution, , and simple resolution. ‘Companion’ bill is used to describe a bill, introduced in one House of Congress, similar or identical to a bill introduced in the other. 7 The House and Senate must pass exactly the same version of any bill before it becomes law. Once both House and Senate agree, the bill is either signed or vetoed by the US President. 11 EPRS | European Parliamentary Research Service

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This document is prepared for, and addressed to, the Members and staff of the European Parliament as background material to assistthem in their parliamentary work. The content of the document is the sole responsibility of its author(s) and any opinions expressed herein should not be taken to represent an official position of the Parliament. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. © European Union, 2020. [email protected] (contact) www.eprs.ep.parl.union.eu (intranet) www.europarl.europa.eu/thinktank (internet) http://epthinktank.eu (blog)