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Sunday, 6 July 2014


The U.S. Congress met in New York City on March 4, 1789, putting the United States Constitution into effect.

The U.S. Congress moved from New York City to Congress Hall, a building near the intersection of Chestnut and 6th Streets in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 6, 1790. It served as the seat of the United States Congress from that date to May 14, 1800.

Before 1814, Congressmen in the US House of Representatives were paid six dollars per diem when they were in session. They weren't paid on those other days.

It was said that General Washington could  be distinguished from the rest of congressmen at prayers, as he was the only one who knelt down to pray.

The United States Library of Congress was established in 1800 when President John Adams signed legislation to appropriate $5,000 to purchase "such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress".

When the U.S. Congress passed legislation overriding a President’s veto in 1845, it was the first time Congress had done so. President John Tyler was in office at the time.

When Daniel E. Sickles, a New York Congressman, was acquitted of murder on grounds of temporary insanity in 1859, it was the first time this defense had been successfully used in the United States.

On December 12, 1870, Representative Joseph H. Rainey of South Carolina (see below) was sworn in as the second African American congressman. (The first being Hiram Revels.) He was the first black presiding officer of the House of Representatives.

Rainey served a total of four terms until March 3, 1879, establishing a record of length of service for a black Congressman that was not surpassed until that of William L. Dawson of Chicago in the 1950s.

Members of the U.S. Congress raised their own pay to $7,500 each in 1907. Both House and Senate members got the same bucks. The Cabinet members and the Vice President earned twelve grand back then.

The number of representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives was established at 435 on August 8, 1911. Back then that computed as one member of Congress for every 211,877 residents. The number was temporarily increased to 437 in 1959 upon the admission of Alaska and Hawaii, and returned to 435 four years later, after the reapportionment consequent to the 1960 census.

Official photo of the 114th United States Congress

Jeanette Rankin became the first woman to hold a high government office in the United States when on November 7, 1916 she was elected to the United States House of Representatives from the state of Montana. A lifelong pacifist, she was the only legislator to vote against American involvement in both World War I and World War II.

Jeannette Rankin, U.S. Congresswoman from Montana

Richard Nixon funded his first campaign for Congress using $6,000 he won at poker.

Brooklynite Shirley Chisholm took office on January 3, 1969 as the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress. She is buried in a mausoleum that reads "Unbought and Unbossed."

Michael Myers, U.S. Representative from Pennsylvania was expelled from the House of Representatives on October 2, 1980 after he'd been videotaped accepting a bribe of $50,000 from undercover FBI agents. He was the first member of the House to be expelled since 1861.

Michael Myers

Sonny Bono of "I Got You Babe" fame remains the only member of Congress to have scored a #1 single on the US Billboard Hot 100 chart.

Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom addressed a joint session of the United States Congress on May 16, 1991. She was the first British monarch to address the US Congress.

In 2002 Elmo, the Muppet puppet became the first non-human to testify before Congress. He was called to testify in front of the House Education Appropriations Sub-committee in defense of funding music programs in public schools.The move to include Elmo among the testifiers was designed to draw attention to underfunded music programs.

For the first time, half of the U.S. Congress were revealed to be millionaires in 2014, with 268 of the 534 politicians in the Senate and House of Representatives having a net worth of $1 million (£606,821) or more.

The House of Representatives has an official mace that can be used to threaten unruly congressmen.

Source Daily Mail

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