43 Congress Facts: The Legislature Of The United States

Aashita Dhingra
Oct 16, 2023 By Aashita Dhingra
Originally Published on Apr 13, 2022
US Capitol over blue sky

The U.S. Congress is considered the legislative branch of the government of the United States.

The Congress consists of two branches, the House of Representatives and the Senate. Both the Senate and the Household have the authority to make many important decisions for the government and the country, including the right to declare war and reject or accept presidential nominations.

The Congress is established based on Article I of the Constitution, and most of the members of the Congress are chosen using direct elections.

Article I further states that both the House of Representatives and the Senate will be equal partners in running the legislation. The House of Representatives is the lower body of Congress, while the Senate is the upper body. There are a total of 435 House of Representatives and 100 senators who are a part of Congress.

History Of Congress

The Congress body was not formed in a day. It took several centuries of creation and changes to come to the point Congress is in now. Here are some of the facts about this legislation body.

On July 4, 1776, the new nation of the United States of America was formed. This was the starting point for the formation of the Congress.

The Articles of Confederation is the original agreement between the 13 states that formed the country. This was considered the original constitution or frame for the formation of the government.

This Articles of Confederation, in 1781, created the base, called the Congress of the Confederation.

According to this, the Congress of the Confederation was supposed to have equal representation by all states and equally contribute to making important decisions.

Initially, Congress had only exceptional power. It was not given the ability to make legislative decisions.

In the beginning, Congress was unicameral. It meant that it had a single chamber or house that made decisions.

In 1787, something called the Convention of 1787 happened in Philadelphia. The intention of this was to create a new Government Frame as the prior one did not work effectively.

Between the years 1780 and 1820, different political party groups were formed. The Supreme court was given the ultimate power to nullify existing Congress legislation if needed.

Between 1877 and 1901 were called the Glided Age and were marked by economic growth and increased wages. This was the time that the Republican parties ruled Congress. Lobbying within Congress became very common.

In 1913, a very notable change was amended in Congress history. According to the Seventeenth Amendment, the senators were to be chosen through direct elections.

The 1930s saw the Great Depression, and this was the period that Democrats came into power. Democrats continued to rule until the Second World War.

During this period, it is said that President Franklin Roosevelt pushed a lot of his own agendas and initiatives by getting the support of friendly Senates.

This practice of the Democrats controlling the Houses of Congress continued for several years. This caused the formation of the Conservative Coalition party that included Republican and Conservative Democrat groups.

The 1970s saw a very active Congress trying to implement the Great Society program to fight poverty after the war.

By the 20th Century, the members of Congress understood the importance of press and media, and Congress, to date, remains cautious of their public opinion that could be made or broken by the press.

Women began to enter Congress only very late. Women of color took even longer. The first woman of color who became the Senate in the Country was Carol Moseley Braun. This happened in 1993. After her, another woman of color reached the position only 20 years later.

Congress Of The United States

The Congress of the United States is a tight body of members who work tirelessly towards the nation's growth. Here are some facts about them.

Together, the Senate and the House meet at the Capitol Building in Washington.

The 435 individuals elected to be a part of Congress are chosen from the 50 states in the country.

Apart from these members, six members don't have the right to vote.

The six non-voting inclusions are from the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Columbia, Virgin Islands, American Samoa, Guam, and the Northern Mariana Islands.

In generic terms, the Senate gives formal approvals to different treaties and handles Presidential nominations while the House handles revenue bills.

It is to be noted that though Congress talks about the equal contribution of both House and Senate, the House plays a minimal role in appointing federal officials or approving or rejecting treaties.

According to the constitution, people who are a part of the House must be at least 25 years of age and be U.S. Citizens for at least seven years. They also have to apply from the state that they reside in.

Similarly, people who are a part of the Senate must be at least 30 years of age, should be U.S. citizens for at least nine years, and should reside in the state that they represent.

Every time new bills are proposed, they are sent to the President only after both the Senate and the House vote and approve them with a majority.

Sometimes, even after the Senate and House have approved, the President may reject or veto it.

Even after a President's veto, bills may be passed if it is again taken in the chamber and more than two-thirds of the members approve it. That is the power of these committees.

Different executive branch agencies may issue new regulations. However, these can be enacted as laws only under the authority of Congress.

Congress also plays a role in money matters by proposing an annual budget to the government. They decide taxes and tariffs.

If the government needs additional money to handle certain expenses, Congress can choose to authorize borrowing or disapprove of it.

If the Executive branch makes an oversight, it is the duty of the House and the Senate to keep it in check.

Congress can constantly monitor and prevent the President from implementing unfair or biased laws and regulations.

According to the constitution and law, the President is supposed to work hand-in-hand with Congress and update the members on new legislation needs, policies, and government requirements.

Formation And Structure Of Congress

The Congress judicial branch follows a certain structure, which has changed over time. Below are facts about how the branch is structured.

As mentioned before, there are two different bodies of voting members in Congress, the house and Senate. Different people here work as various committees and handle tasks.

The Senate consists of 100 people. Two people from each state are chosen to become a senator.

Apart from the two bodies, Congress includes ancillary members who could be working at the Library of Congress or the Accountability Office.

These ancillary members help provide data and information to those who need it at the right time.

There are also many lobbyists who help create new legislation whenever needed. These individuals pitch in and help without expecting to be paid (pro bono).

Did you know that in 2007, about 17,000 lobbyists were helping out in Washington D.C.?

The House will elect a speaker at the beginning of the term who will usually be the party leader.

In most cases, the Vice President of the Country will act as the President of the Senate.

The senior-most member of the Senate is usually offered the post of President Pro Tempore. This means a temporary president until changes are made.

Each Congress House will have permanent standing committees and select committees that include special and temporary individuals.

If the House and the Senate dispute an act of legislation, conference committees are formed to settle the dispute and reach a consensus.

It is definitely a very important part of the constitution, and the different committees are responsible for the country's various growth and safety. Congress may create investigation committees at any point in time to check any affairs pertaining to its power.


Q: What are three facts about Congress?

A: This is the legislative branch of the government. It can override Presidential decisions on bills if needed. It has the power to borrow money from the government.

Q: What powers does Congress have?

A: It can decide on Presidential nominations, choose federal officials, pass or reject bills, and oversee executive branch activities.

Q: What is Congress known for?

A: It is known to be the legislative powerhouse of the Government of the United States.

Q: What is Congress?

A: It is the authoritative figure to make laws and decisions for the United States federal government.

Q: How many U.S. senators are there?

A: There are 100 senators, two for each of the 50 states.

Q: What does the Senate do?

A: The Senate is considered the upper body of Congress and approves treaties, chooses federal officials, and conducts trials for impeachment issues.

Q: How long is a term in the house of representatives?

A: One team equals two years.

Q: What are the two houses of Congress?

A: The two houses are the House of Representatives and the Senate.

Q: What is the legislative branch responsible for?

A: The legislative branch is responsible for passing bills, declaring wars, controlling taxes, creating an annual budget, and overseeing the activities of the President and the executive branch.

Q: What is the Library Of Congress?

A: The Library Of Congress is a support service that serves Congressmen and women.

Q: What is required for Congress to override a presidential veto?

A: It will need two-thirds of the vote to override a veto.

Q: When is the second continental Congress?

A: The Second Continental Congress was established on May 10, 1775.

Q: What is reconciliation in Congress?

A: Reconciliation is a way for Congress to pass budget bills by overriding the filibuster rules posed by the Senate.


Editorial credit: Katherine Welles / Shutterstock.com

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Written by Aashita Dhingra

Bachelors in Business Administration

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Aashita DhingraBachelors in Business Administration

Based in Lucknow, India, Aashita is a skilled content creator with experience crafting study guides for high school-aged kids. Her education includes a degree in Business Administration from St. Mary's Convent Inter College, which she leverages to bring a unique perspective to her work. Aashita's passion for writing and education is evident in her ability to craft engaging content.

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