A Profile of the 115th Congress

The 115th Congress was officially sworn in on January 3. The new Congress includes a freshman class of 53 Representatives (26 Republicans and 27 Democrats) and 6 Senators (1 Republican and 5 Democrats). Republicans maintained majorities in both chambers following the November elections, but with smaller margins than in the 114th Congress. The party alignment in the House currently stands at 241 Republicans and 194 Democrats, compared to the Republican majority of 249 in the 114th Congress. The party alignment in the Senate stands at 52 Republicans and 48 Democrats (the two Senate Independents caucus with the Democrats), compared to the Republican majority of 54 seats in the 114th Congress.

While both chambers of Congress are still overwhelmingly white (339 in the House and 90 in the Senate) and male (348 in the House and 79 in the Senate), the 115th Congress will be the most diverse in history. It will also be one of the most educated Congresses in history with 234 members of the House and 57 members of the Senate holding advanced degrees. A large majority in both chambers have held different public offices before their election to Congress (191 in the House, 44 in the Senate), were involved in business (178 in the House, 29 in the Senate), or practiced law (156 in the House, 50 in the Senate). Notably, there are 5 members of the House who self-identified as having occupations in science as well as 77 members of the House and 20 members of the Senate who self-identified as having occupations in education before their election to Congress.

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Posted in Issue 1 (January 10), Update, Volume 36 (2017)

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