Legislative Branch (Congress) FAQ
According to the Constitution, what are the requirements for membership in the US House of Representatives?A member of Congress must be at least 25 years old, must have been a US citizen for at least seven years, and must live in the state he or she represents.
According to the Constitution, what are the requirements for membership in the US Senate?A senator must be at least 30 years old, must have been a US citizen for at least nine years, and must live in the state he or she represents.
How many senators and representatives sit in Congress?535 (100 in the Senate and 435 in the House of Representatives).
How much are senators and representatives paid?$169,300 (as of 2008).
How long is each term of Congress?Two years.
How long is each session of Congress?Less than one year. There are two sessions in each term.
Who can call Congress into special session?Only the President of the United States.
How are seats in the US Senate apportioned?Equally among all states; each state, no matter how large or small, receives two seats in the Senate.
How are seats in the House of Representatives apportioned?On the basis of population; larger states get more seats than smaller states.
How often must members of the House of Representatives stand for election?Every two years.
How often must US Senators stand for election?Every six years.
How many separate powers are explicitly granted to Congress by Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution?27.
What are the most important powers granted to Congress by the Constitution?The power to tax, the power to regulate commerce and currency, the power to declare war, and the power to impeach the president.
How many times has the House of Representatives impeached the President?Twice (Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998); both men were acquitted of impeachment charges by the Senate and remained in office. Richard Nixon also resigned from the presidency in 1974 to avoid being impeached.