A record number of women are serving in the 117th Congress (120 members of the House and 24 members of the Senate). This is the highest percentage in U.S. history. [PEW 1/15/21]

Earmarks are back. Earmarks have been banned in Congress for a decade.

Many people thought that earmarking by members of Congress was the definition of corruption.

The current congressional leaders have realized that giving lawmakers the chance to fund projects for their communities back home is actually a great way to get votes for legislation. Some folks have suggested that bringing back earmarks could help bring back bipartisanship. [That last suggestion may be a stretch. WW] [WP 3/10/22]

It is true that Democrats have grown slightly more liberal over the past five decades. It is also true that Republicans have grown far more conservative over that same time and, in so doing, have moved the overall ideological center of the House to the right as well. [Chris Cillizza 3/15/22]

There is a recent survey on the potential for unionization of Capital Hill aides ordered by Punchbowl News.

45% of staff said they opposed efforts to unionize Capitol Hill aides.
39% supported it and 16% did not know.
77% of Democrats support the effort.
87% of Republican staffers opposed the effort.
13% of Republican staffers and 19% of Democratic staffers have no opinion.
56% of respondents said they would not vote to join the union.
97% of Republican said they would not vote to join the union.
36% of Senate aides said they support the effort while 39% oppose it.

[Punchbowl News 4/4/22]

Beginning with the 95th Congress (1977-1979) and ending with the 117th Congress (2021-2023) there have been a total of 23 congresses. 13 have been controlled by Democrats and 10 controlled by Republicans.

The 95th – 103rd were controlled by the Democrats.
The 104th –109th were controlled by the Republicans.
The 110th – 111th were controlled by the Democrats.
The 112th – 115th were controlled by the Republicans.
The 116th – 117th were controlled by the Democrats. [U.S. House Archives]

Approval of the Congress began to drop in mid-2021. It seems to have leveled off.

Approve Disapprove
Real Clear Pol. 3/2/22 21.8% 67.8%
Real Clear Pol. 2/1/22 21.0% 67.2%
Real Clear Pol. 12/21/21 23.0% 65.8%
Real Clear Pol. 11/30/21 22.2% 68.6%
Real Clear Pol. 10/12/21 25.0% 65.8%
Real Clear Pol. 9/1/21 28.5% 60.3%
Real Clear Pol. 8/3/21 31.4% 59.6%
Real Clear Pol. 6/15/21 28.8% 60.5%
Real Clear Pol. 5/18/21 35.0% 56.3%
Real Clear Pol. 5/4/21 36.3% 55.5%
Real Clear Pol. 4/6/21 34.3% 57.0%
Real Clear Pol. 3/2/21 29.7% 60.0%

The House of Representatives

Washington Watch uses the Cook Political Report for its report on elections in the U.S. House of Representatives.


  • Democrats – 222 seats
  • Republicans – 210 seats
  • Vacancies – 3 seats

As of March 27, 2022, there are currently 47 seats in which House incumbents have announced they are not running for re-election because they are either running for another office or retiring. 17 of those seats are currently held by Republicans and 30 by Democrats.

Five Republican members of the House and four Democratic members of the House are running for the U.S. Senate. 1 Republican member and 2 Democratic members are running for governor.

The dates have now been set for the special election to fill the seat of Congressman Don Young, who at the time of his death was the longest serving Republican member of the House of Representatives.

51 people have filed to be on the ballot for the June 11th special primary election to serve out the balance of this year. One of the most well-known candidates is Sarah Palin, former governor, and former vice-presidential candidate. The top four candidates of the June 11th primary will face off on August 16, 2022, the primary date for the November general election. For the first time, Alaska will use Ranked Choice Voting this year.

Voters are split on midterm vote intentions.

43% of registered voters say they will vote for/lean toward the Democratic candidate in their district while a like amount of 43% say they will vote for/lean toward the Republican candidate in their district. 4% plan to vote for another candidate and 10% are not sure for whom they are likely to vote. [PEW 3/13/22]

A similar result was found in another survey. Folks were asked what their preference is for the outcome of November’s congressional elections. 46% said their preference was for a Republican controlled Congress and 44% said their preference was for a Democrat controlled Congress. [NBC 3/22/22]

The Senate

[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

Six U.S. Senators are retiring from public office; 1 Democrat and 5 Republicans. None are running for other office.

Democrats Republicans Independent
Seats not up in 2022 34 30 2
Safe in 2022 10 16  
  Padilla Murkowski  
  Bennett AL – open  
  Blumenthal Boozman  
  Schatz Grassley  
  Duckworth Crapo  
  Van Hollen Young  
  Schumer Moran  
  Wyden Paul  
  Open (Leahy) Kennedy  
  Murray MO – open  
    OH – open  
Likely 1 2  
  Hassan Rubio  
    PA – open  
Lean 0 1  
  NC – open  
Toss Up 3 1  
  Cortez Masto Johnson