New Year Kicks off 115th U.S. Congress

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The legislative branch of United States government meets today in D.C. as the 115th Congress begins its term and takes up the nation’s business. The two-year term, running now through January 3, 2019, and composed of the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House of Representatives, will usher out the end of the Obama administration in three weeks and operate the remainder of its term under the Trump administration. Republicans are in control the Executive and Legislative branches with a GOP-controlled Senate and House as well as the Presidency.

The new Congress (see complete list of members here) will consist of seven freshman Senators — five Democrats and two Republicans — and 52 freshman Representatives — 25 Democrats and 27 Republicans. Three of the freshmen in the U.S. House are Virginians: Scott Taylor (R-2nd), Donald McEachin (D-4th), and Tom Garrett (R-5th).

As the most diverse Congress that Americans have seen so far, women make up 83 of the 435 U.S. House members and 21 of the 100 U.S. Senate members. There are 34 Hispanic House members and 4 Senate members, while African-Americans total 46 in the House and 3 in the Senate, and Asian-American members total 12 in the House and 3 in the Senate. The LGBT community is represented with 6 House members and one Senate member. Christianity is still the dominant religion in Congress but the religious diversity during the 115th will include 30 Jewish members, 4 Hindus, 3 Buddhists, and 2 Muslims.

Republicans outnumber Democrats in the Senate 52 to 46 with two Independents. In the House, Republicans dominate 241 to 194 Democrats.

Stay tuned because it promises to be an action-packed session. But first — new members and the opening of the 115th U.S. Congress … history in the making.

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