Get to know the 116th Congress

In four graphics, learn more about the 116th Congress, the legislative branch of the federal government, composed of the Senate, made up of 100 members, and the House of Representatives, which consists of 435 members.

Nearly 100 people are serving their first time in Congress. These first-time members include a former governor, a nurse, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee and former professional American football players.

The 116th Congress has more members with diverse ethnic and racial backgrounds, including the first two female Native Americans in the House and two Latinas elected to Congress from Texas. Connecticut also elected its first black congresswoman.

Nearly a quarter of the voting membership of the 116th Congress is women, the highest percentage in U.S. history. Their backgrounds vary widely, from a small business owner to military veterans to a former Cabinet secretary.

Republicans hold the majority in the Senate, while Democrats control the House of Representatives. The House has a large role in spending decisions and has the power to investigate the executive branch. The Senate has the power to approve nominations, such as those to the Supreme Court.

All graphics: State Dept./Julia Maruszewski