A Member of
Congress (MOC) is a person who has been appointed or
elected and inducted into an official body called a congress,
typically to represent a particular constituency in a legislature.
Parliament (MP) is an equivalent term in other
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In referring to a lawmaker in their capacity of serving in Congress
the term Member of
Congress is used less often than other terms in the
United States. This is because in the
United States the word Congress
is used as a descriptive term for the collective body of legislators,
from both houses of its bicameral federal legislature: the
the House of Representatives. For this reason, and in order to
distinguish who is a member of which house, a member of the
typically referred to as Senator (followed by "name" from "state"),
and a member of the House of Representatives is usually referred to as
Congressman or Congresswoman (followed by "name" from the "number"
district of "state"), or Representative ("name" from the "number"
district of "state"). Although Senators are members of Congress, they
are not normally referred to and addressed as "Congressmen" or
"Congresswomen" or "Congresspeople".
Congress in both houses are elected by direct popular vote.
Senators are elected via a statewide vote and representatives by
voters in each congressional district. Congressional districts are
apportioned to the states, once every ten years, based on population
figures from the most recent nationwide census. Each of the 435
members of the House of Representatives is elected to serve a two-year
term representing the people of their district. Each state, regardless
of its size, has at least one congressman or congresswoman. Each of
the 100 members of the
Senate is elected to serve a six-year term
representing the people of their state. Each state, regardless of its
size, has two senators. Senatorial terms are staggered, so every two
years approximately one-third of the
Senate is up for election. Each
staggered group of one-third of the senators is called a 'class'. No
state has both its senators in the same class.
History of the
United States Congress
Congress was created in Article I of the
Constitution, where the Founding Fathers laid out the limitations and
powers of Congress. Article I grants
Congress legislative power and
lists the enumerated powers and allows
Congress to make laws that are
necessary and proper to carry out the enumerated powers. It specifies
the election and composition of the House of Representatives and
Senate and the qualifications necessary to serve in each chamber.
The Seventeenth Amendment changed how senators were elected.
Originally, senators were elected by state legislatures. The
Seventeenth Amendment changed this to senators being elected directly
by popular vote.
^ "Members of the
United States Congress". GovTrack.us. 2013-01-03.