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United States Congress: Facts and Figures

14-02-2020

The Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the Senate (upper chamber). The formal powers of the Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making laws, collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the executive branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the ...

The Congress is the legislative branch of the US system of government and is divided into two chambers: the House of Representatives (lower chamber) and the Senate (upper chamber). The formal powers of the Congress are set out in Article 1 of the US Constitution, and include making laws, collecting revenue, borrowing and spending money, declaring war, making treaties with foreign nations, and overseeing the executive branch. Elections to the US Congress occur in November every second year, with the Congress convening the following January. The current, 116th, Congress was elected in November 2018 and was convened in January 2019. The US has a long-standing two-party system, which means that nearly all members of Congress belong to either the Republican or Democratic parties, while independent members (if any) generally align or sit with one of the two main parties. At the most recent simultaneous US Congressional and Presidential elections, back in November 2016, the Republicans won majorities in both houses of Congress, as well as winning the White House. However, the Democrats gained a majority in the House of Representatives at the November 2018 mid-term elections. This EPRS Briefing is designed to provide key facts and figures about the US Congress as an institution, including relevant comparisons with the European Parliament (EP). The back page contains a map showing the location of the various Congressional buildings on Capitol Hill, home to the Congress in Washington DC.

The US mid-term elections of November 2018

19-10-2018

The forthcoming mid-term elections in the United States, to be held on 6 November 2018, are likely to offer a closely watched political verdict on the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency. They will define not only the composition of the 116th US Congress, to meet from 3 January 2019 to 3 January 2021, but also the power balance both within Congress and between Congress and the President. In US mid-term elections, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are up for ...

The forthcoming mid-term elections in the United States, to be held on 6 November 2018, are likely to offer a closely watched political verdict on the first two years of Donald Trump's presidency. They will define not only the composition of the 116th US Congress, to meet from 3 January 2019 to 3 January 2021, but also the power balance both within Congress and between Congress and the President. In US mid-term elections, the entire House of Representatives and one third of the Senate are up for election. The Democratic party, currently the minority in both chambers, aims to regain control of the House of Representatives, at least, although the conditions for its winning back the Senate are less favourable. Any shift in power towards the Democrats will result in increased scrutiny and pressure on the sitting President, and might lead to detailed investigations in Congress into the performance of his Administration, and potentially to an impeachment attempt against President Trump personally. By contrast, if the Republicans succeed in retaining control of both chambers, this will consolidate the President’s power-base within his own party, create a more favourable backdrop to his intended run for re-election in 2020, and exacerbate the identity and leadership crises within the Democratic party. This Briefing provides background to the forthcoming mid-term elections, by offering an overview of how the US Congress is elected, by explaining issues such as voter registration, voting methods, the way the primaries work, election security issues and gerrymandering. It goes on to analyse the potential political implications of the mid-term election results.

Japan: Shinzō Abe wins a new mandate

25-10-2017

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Shinzō Abe won the snap elections he called for the lower house on 22 October 2017. Despite her popularity, Tokyo's governor Yuriko Koike failed to convince the electorate to oust a prime minister in charge since December 2012. The newly created Constitutional Democratic Party of Japan became the main opposition force in the House of Representatives. In coalition with Kōmeitō, Abe's Liberal Democratic Party holds a two-thirds majority enabling it to pass constitutional amendments.

Morocco's new political landscape

11-04-2017

On 7 October 2016, Morocco went to the polls for national parliamentary elections. This was the second time that Morocco had held national elections since being touched by the Arab Spring in February 2011. Since the 2011 public protests, a number of constitutional reforms, introduced by King Mohammed VI, have made significant changes to electoral and administrative law. Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) re-emerged as the winner, with the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) ...

On 7 October 2016, Morocco went to the polls for national parliamentary elections. This was the second time that Morocco had held national elections since being touched by the Arab Spring in February 2011. Since the 2011 public protests, a number of constitutional reforms, introduced by King Mohammed VI, have made significant changes to electoral and administrative law. Morocco's Islamic Justice and Development Party (PJD) re-emerged as the winner, with the Authenticity and Modernity Party (PAM) in second position. Since 25 March 2017, Morocco has a new coalition government.