What is Congress?
  * One of the three branches of government: Congress, President and Supreme Court
  * Legislative branch of federal government where laws are made
  * Based in building known as Capitol in Washington
  * 535 members of Congress – 100 in Senate and 435 in House of Representatives.
  * Work carried out in these two chambers as well as committee rooms and offices. Make policy compared to most modern legislatures where are executive dominated.
  * Work in Congress often seen to be slow and characterised by gridlock – provides the ‘limited government’ and ‘checks and balances’ which Founding Fathers wanted. Intended negative bias built in.
How is Congress structured?
  * Bicameral – made up of House of Representatives and Senate
  * In lower house (House of Representatives) the states represented proportionally to population. Representatives for each state reappointed after 10 yearly census (2000,2010,2020). Some gain and some lose – Florida rose from 25 to 27 in 2010 while New York fell from 29 to 27. Can be influenced by gerrymandering where parties alter boundaries for their own advantage.
  * In upper house (Senate) states represented equally – 2 members.
  * Originally, House of Representatives were elected by people but Senate were indirectly elected by state governments.
  * Changed in 1914 when, due to 17th Amendment, Senate was directly elected too.
How representative is the membership of Congress?
  * Congress elected every 2 years and members have to be at least 25 years old, a US citizen for 7 years and be resident in your state district
  * Senators elected every 6 years (third every 2 on rotation system) and must be at least 30 years of age, a US citizen for 9 years and be resident in your state.
  * Members of Congress tend to be middle-aged (Average 56 H of R and 63 in Senate) , highly educated (284 in H of R have degree and 75 in Senate), religious (approximately half) and from professional...