We inquiry you come submit her burning questions about Congress and also how it works and the answers come selected concerns are below. If you have added questions no answered here, just send a tweet through the hashtag #CongressQandA.

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How is the total number of representatives arrived at? wherein in the structure does it to speak 435 members? — i get it P.

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Article I, section 2 the the structure dictates the seats in the home of to represent are figured out by a state"s population. This number is calculated based upon the census conducted every ten years. Every state is entitled to at the very least one Representative. On average, each member the the residence represents about 700,000 people, i m sorry is higher or lower depending on the state"s population. Click right here to see just how seats were reapportioned ~ the 2010 Census.

How lot do Congressmen gain paid? who decides how much they get paid?

In 2010, non-ranking members that the House and Senate got $174,000 every year. The majority and decimal leaders and also the president agree tempore (customarily the most an elderly Senator in the bulk party) receive greater salaries than various other members — $193,400 per year. The Constitution needs Congress to identify its very own pay, but Congress hasn"t spread a salary increase because 2009.

Are Congressmen and women required to poll on every proposed legislation? — Sabrina D.

Senate and House members deserve to vote either "yea" or "nay," uneven excused through the Senate or residence leadership. If they room not current for the vote, it is tape-recorded as a missed vote. You have the right to see a historical overview of how Congressmen have voted in our congressional Votes Database.

How on earth do they decision what member walk on i beg your pardon committee? — Nancy H.

Members of conference each serve on committees in stimulate to regulate the hundreds of bills presented to Congress each legislative session. The Senate and House have actually many similar standing committees, consisting of the budget committee, foreign Relations committee, and also the Finance committee and together have actually joint committees, including the Joint economic Committee and Joint Committee ~ above Taxation. Each committee has Members native both parties and its members are selected by party leadership based on seniority and also interest in the provided issue. You can find a list of the Senate committees and members here and also the house committees here.

What is the spending plan for running Congress itself? — Dale W.

The 2011 legislative Branch Appropriations bill, which includes Congress" operation budget, totaled $4.63 billion, which consists of $926 million because that the Senate, $1.371 billion because that the house of Representatives, $337.2 million for the Capitol Police, which contains 1,800 Capitol Police officers and 393 civilians, and $147 million for the government Printing Office.

What do the bulk and minority Leader do?

The Senate and House bulk and minority Leaders are 4 members that Congress that are chosen as spokespeople for your parties and manage and schedule the business of the Senate and also the House. The Senate bulk Leader is Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and the Senate decimal Leader is Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). The brand-new House bulk Leader is Rep. Man Boehner (R-Ohio) and also the home Minority Leader is Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

The bulk and minority Leaders have procedural privileges and also are recognized an initial if either leader and another Congressman are seeking recognition at the exact same time. Also, by custom, just the bulk Leader (or a Congressman acting on his behalf) proposes what bills and also resolutions the Senate must consider and in what order.

What is a filibuster? exactly how does it work?

Senators who oppose a pending bill or other agenda item deserve to speak against it as long as they want or delay action through offering various amendments and motions. This tactic is dubbed a filibuster and is provided to stall action on a measure up in the expect of convincing the Senate to adjust it or withdraw it indigenous consideration. Filibusters can last for days or as long as the Senator have the right to or wants to speak.

What is cloture? Why walk Senate come up with 60 as the number for cloture?

Currently, the just Senate procedure that can overcome a filibuster is cloture. Cloture needs the support of three-fifths the the Senate or a minimum the 60 votes, except on proposals to adjust rules, which call for two-thirds the Senators to offer their approval. Also, cloture can not be vote on until 2 days after it is proposed. If the Senate invokes cloture on a bill, amendment, or other issue, consideration of the matter is restricted to 30 additional hours throughout which every Senator might speak for no an ext than one hour. Cloture does no stop controversy immediately; it just ensures that controversy cannot proceed indefinitely.

Why don"t we have actually term boundaries for Senators? — George D.

Currently, Senators are permitted to serve countless six-year terms and Representatives deserve to serve limitless two-year terms. The constitution only borders the Presidents to 2 four-year state in office. Numerous attempts to border reelection, including a short-lived motion in the 1990s, have actually failed. In 1995, the can be fried Court overturned law from several states that aimed come impose limits on time one person could hold office in the Senate seat.

How lot in expenditures perform Senators and Representatives actually pay the end of pocket? What perks perform they receive? — kris V.

House members obtain an pin money for personnel (up to $922,350) and also another allowance for "ordinary and necessary" service expenses concerned their duties, including travel ($250,512 in 2009), follow to the Congressional research Service. In the 2010 gaue won year, Senators received in between $128,585 and $465,919 because that office expenses. This number is based on the distance in between Washington, D.C. And the Senator"s residence state, the population of the state, and also other factors.

Congressmen can deduct up to $3,000 a year in living prices while away from your congressional districts or house states. Members space eligible to receive health and life insurance and retirement advantage and likewise have mailing privileges. There space various restrictions on just how much members the Congress deserve to earn external of their base salary.

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How long does a Senator/Representative need to serve to draw retirement and how much? — valley B.

Members that Congress room eligible because that a pension as soon as they turn 62 if they have completed in ~ least 5 years the service, according to the Congressional study Service. Members space eligible because that a pension at age 50 if they have completed twenty years of service, or at any kind of age after perfect 25 years of service. The amount of the pension depends on years of service and also the mean of the greatest three year of salary. By law, the beginning amount the a member the Congress" retirement annuity can not exceed 80 percent the his or her final salary.

In 2007, — the most recent year for which numbers available — 435 retirement Members of Congress got federal pensions. That this number, 286 retired under the Civil business Retirement System, a pension plan for commonwealth employees that served before 1984, and received an average yearly pension the $63,696. The remaining Congressmen retirement under both CSRS or the federal Employees" Retirement System, a newer pension plan, or under FERS only. In 2007, your average yearly pension to be $36,732.