The 118th Congress Begins in January

On January 3, a new congress will begin to pass laws for our country.

Have you ever had a first day at school? Did you feel excited, anxious, or nervous? Maxwell Alejandro Frost might be feeling all these feelings on January 3rd. He is twenty-five years old and he is starting a new job. He will become the first member of Generation Z [people who were born in the late 1990s to early 2000s] to become join congress as a member of the House of Representatives.

Members of the House of Representatives serve two-year terms. Members of the Senate serve six-year terms, though not all Senators are elected at the same time. So, every two years there is a new congress. This is the 118th Congress of the United States of America.

Maxwell Alejandro Frost will enter a divided congress. After the midterm elections [link], the balance of power in congress changed. The Democrats increased their majority in the Senate, though it is still by a very small amount. There are 51 senators who caucus [meet together to make political decisions] with the Democrats, while there are 49 Republican senators.

In the House of Representatives, the Republican Party took control away from the Democrats. They have a slim majority of 222 representatives, compared to the Democrats’ 213 representatives. Members of the House of Representative and United States Senate will have to find things that enough people can agree on in each house to make laws.

While Maxwell Alejandro Frost is the first person from his generation in congress, he will not be the only “first” in the 118th Congress. Hakeem Jeffries will become the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives. He will be the first African American leader in congress.

Frost will also enter a more diverse congress than ever before. It has more women than ever before, and more Republican women representatives. There are also more African American and Latina women in this congress. Female representation in Congress has been steadily increasing since 2016. However, women still only account for around 25% of congressional representation, while they make up over half of to the United States population.

What Do You Think? Imagine you have been elected to Congress. What laws would you try to pass? What issues would be important to you?

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