United States House of Representatives
Each state receives representation in the House in proportion to its population but is entitled to at least one Representative. The most populous state, California, currently has 53 representatives. There are seven states with only one representative.
The total number of voting representatives is currently fixed at 435. Each representative serves for a two-year term. The presiding officer of the House is the speaker, and is elected by the members of the house.
Because its members are generally elected from smaller (an average of 693,000 residents as of 2007) and more commonly homogeneous districts than those from the Senate, the House is generally considered to be a more partisan chamber. The House was granted its own exclusive powers: the power to initiate revenue bills, impeach officials, and elect the president in electoral college deadlocks.
In order to be a member of the U.S. House, a representative must meet the following requirements:
- At least 25 years old
- A U.S. citizen for at least seven years
- A resident of the state he or she represents
Additionally, all 50 states maintain requirements related to running for election. These filing requirements vary, and can include:
- A filing fee
- A petition with a minimum number of valid signatures
Members of the U.S. House receive $174,000 per year. This figure was most recently adjusted in January 2009, when it was increased from $169,300. Additionally, several positions receive salaries above the baseline level.
Some historical facts about the salary of U.S. House members:
- In 1789, members of Congress received $6 per diem
- In 1874, members of Congress earned $5,000 per year
- In 1990, members of Congress earned $96,600 per year
- From 2000-2006, the salary of a member of the U.S. House increased every year, going from $141,300-$165,200 in that time span.
Every two years all 435 members of the House are up for election.
- See also: U.S. House elections, 2012
Elections to the U.S. House will be held on November 6, 2012. All 435 seats will be up for election.
Vote with party
The website Open Congress tracks how often members of Congress vote with the majority of the chamber caucus. According to the website, there were 242 Republicans and 192 Democrats in November 2011. A total of 26 members (6%) voted outside of their party more than 20 percent of the time. In other words, 94% of the U.S. House vote along party lines at least 4 out of every 5 times. Of those 26 members, 21 were Democrats and five Republicans.