The 117th Congress

Approval of the Congress has grown since shortly after the election.

  Approve Disapprove
Real Clear Pol. 3/2/21 29.7% 60.0%
Real Clear Pol. 2/22/21 26.3% 60.0%
Real Clear Pol. 1/5/21 18.7% 70.3%
Real Clear Pol. 11/10/20 18.0% 70.3%
Real Clear Pol. 10/6/20 19.3% 69.0%

Data for the generic congressional ballot is not yet available.

The House of Representatives

The 2020 census data will not be available until September 30, 2021. The legal deadline was March 31, 2021. This change of date could result in chaos in states facing tight redistricting deadliness for Congress as well as state and local offices. [NPR 2/12/21]

WW uses David Wasserman and the Cook Political Report for the House chart. Because of the situation described in the paragraph above, no chart for 2022 had been produced as of March 7th.

There are 118 women serving as voting members of the House of Representatives at the onset of the Congress comprising 27.3% of House members.
Of these, 89 are Democrats (unchanged since 2019) and 29 Republicans (up from 13 in the last Congress).


  • Democrats 222
  • Republicans 213

Only once in more than 80 years has the party in the White House not lost seats in its first midterm election. [Amy Walter, Cook Political Report 2/24/21]

On June 26, 2018, there was a Democratic primary in the 14th Congressional District of New York. Joe Crowley was completing his 10th term as a member of the House of Representatives. He was number 4 in the Democratic leadership in the House.

He did not take seriously a challenge from a local progressive, a member of the Democratic Socialists, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Crowley spent $1,500,000 on the race and Ocasio-Cortez less than $300,000.

By the time Crowley realized that he was in trouble it was too late.
Ocasio-Cortez won with 57% of the vote – 16,898 votes to 12,880 votes.

Since then, having been re-elected, Ocasio-Cortez (known as AOC) has moved onto center stage.

As prominent as AOC has become, all is not perfect. As the House was organizing in 2021, AOC requested assignment to the Energy and Commerce Committee. AOC did not work the issue by personally asking for support. Rep. Kathleen Rice did personally campaign for the assignment. Rice was selected by a 46-13 vote. It was a secret vote. Would the result have been the same if the vote were public?

The recent storm in Texas is an example of how AOC operates. She announced on Twitter a spur-of-the-moment relief effort to benefit five Texas relief organizations. She then traveled to Houston to volunteer at the Houston Food Bank with her colleague Rep. Sylvia Garcia. To date, her effort has raised over $5 million for the food banks. [WW]

The Senate

At the start of the 117th Congress there were 26 women serving in the U.S. Senate, a historic high. That number dropped to 24 when Senator Kamala Harris became Vice President and Sen. Kelly Loeffler lost the Georgia runoff.

Of the 24 female senators, 16 are Democrats and 8 are Republicans.

There were a number of times in the past when the Senate was evenly split.

  • The Senate was evenly split for a 5-month period from January to June 2001.
  • The Senate was evenly split, 48 to 48, during 5 separate periods in 1953 and 1954.
  • The Democratic and Republican caucuses were even at 37 to 37 in 1881. In addition, there was 1 independent who caucused with the Democrats and 1 independent who caucused with the Republicans. [Ballotpedia 1/23/21]

The U.S. Senate has the fewest split delegations (GOP/DEM) since direct elections began in 1913 with the adoption of the 17th Amendment.

In the 2021-22 session of Congress there are only 6 states that now have U.S. senators of different parties.

In the 2019-20 session of Congress there were once again 9 split delegations.

In the 1979-80 session of Congress there were 27 split delegations, the largest number of split delegations.

In the 1961-60 session of Congress there were 25 split delegations.

In the 1955-56 session of Congress there were 9 split delegations.
[PEW 2/11/21]

13 of the Senators who are part of the United States Senate today, who sat as jurors in the impeachment of Donald Trump, were also members of the Senate during Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial in 1999. In the Clinton trial,

  • The 7 Democrats all voted Not Guilty on both charges.
  • 6 of the 7 Republicans voted Guilty on both charges.
  • 1 of the Republicans voted Not Guilty on the charge of perjury but Guilty on the charge of obstruction.

[NBC Magazine 2/12/21]

[WW uses Jessica Taylor of the Cook Political Report and Inside Elections for the Senate chart below. When those two organizations do not agree, WW uses Sabato as a tie breaker.]

  • Republicans 50
  • Democrats 48
  • Independents 2
Democrats Republicans Independent
Seats not up in 2022 34 30 2
Safe in 2022 10 15  
  Padilla Murkowski  
  Bennett AL – open  
  Blumenthal Boozman  
  Schatz Grassley  
  Duckworth Crapo  
  Van Hollen Young  
  Schumer Moran  
  Wyden Paul  
  Leahy Kennedy  
  Murray MO – open  
Likely 2 2  
  Hassan Rubio  
  Cortez Masto OH – open  
Lean 2 1  
  Kelly Johnson  
Toss Up 0 2  
    NC – open  
    PA – open

Senators Leahy (age 81), Grassley (age 87), and Johnson (65) have said they will make announcements later in 2021 as to whether they will run for re-election. [WW]

When all is said and done, chances are that the Democrats could lose their control of the House and Senate in the 2022 election. [WW]