Congress The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States consisting of two chambers: the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the 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. Members are usually affiliated to the Republican Party or to the Democratic Party, and only rarely to a third party or as independents. Congress has 535 voting members: 435 Representatives and 100 Senators. The House of Representatives has six nonvoting members in addition to its 435 voting members. These members can, however, sit on congressional committees and introduce legislation. These members represent Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands and the U.S. Virgin Islands. The members of the House of Representatives serve twoyear terms representing the people of a single constituency, known as a district. Congressional districts are apportioned to states by population 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 atlarge in their state for a sixyear term, with terms staggered, so every two years approximately onethird of the Senate is up for election. The term Congress can also refer to a particular meeting of the legislature. A Congress covers two years; the current one, the 115th Congress, began on January 3, 2017, and will end on January 3, 2019. The Congress starts and ends on the third day of January of every oddnumbered year. Members of the Senate are referred to as senators; members of the House of Representatives are referred to as representatives, congressmen, or congresswomen. Congress is constantly changing and is constantly in flux. In recent times, the American south and west have gained House seats according to demographic changes recorded by the census and includes more minorities and women although both groups are still underrepresented, according to one view. While power balances among the different parts of government continue to change, the internal structure of Congress is important to understand along with its interactions with socalled intermediary institutions such as political parties, civic associations, interest groups, and the mass media. The Congress of the United States serves two distinct purposes that overlap: local representation to the federal government of a congressional district by representatives and a states atlarge representation to the federal government by senators. Most incumbents seek reelection, and their historical likelihood of winning subsequent elections exceeds 90 percent. The historical records of the House of Representatives and the Senate are maintained by the Center for Legislative Archives, which is a part of the National Archives and Records Administration. Congress is directly responsible for the governing of the District of Columbia, the current seat of the federal government. Article I of the Constitution creates and sets forth the structure and most of the powers of Congress. Sections One through Six describe how Congress is elected and gives each House the power to create its own structure. Section Seven lays out the process for creating laws, and Section Eight enumerates numerous powers. Section Nine is a list of powers Congress does not have, and Section Ten enumerates powers of the state, some of which may only be granted by Congress. Constitutional amendments have granted Congress additional powers. Congress also has implied powers derived from the Constitutions Necessary and Proper Clause.