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113th Congress

Information and Details About the 2013-14 Session


Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) swears in the newly elected members of the first session of the 113th Congress in the House Chambers January 3, 2013
Mark Wilson/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The 113th Congress was sworn in on Jan. 3, 2013, for a term lasting two years. Its members were heralded as being the most diverse in history in terms of ethnicity, sexual orientation, religious beliefs and gender.

The political makeup of the 113th Congress was split: Republicans controlled the House of Representatives and Democrats controlled the Senate as a result of the 2012 elections. Democrat Barack Obama was beginning his second term in the White House after a 2012 election victory over Republican Mitt Romney.

Political Makeup

There are 435 seats in the House. In the 113th Congress, there were 233 Republicans, 200 Democrats and two vacancies at the beginning of the term.

There are 100 seats in the Senate. In the 113th Congress, there were 53 Democrats, 45 Republicans and two independents at the beginning of the term.

The makeup of the 113th Congress is similar to that of the 112th Congress in that Republicans controlled the House and Democrats controlled the Senate.


In the GOP-controlled House of Representatives, the highest-ranking members are Republican U.S. Reps. John Boehner of Ohio, who is serving a second two-year term as speaker, and Eric Cantor of Virginia, who is serving his second term as House majority leader. The minority leader is Democratic U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi of California.

In the Senate, the highest-ranking member is Democratic U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, who has served as majority leader since 2007. The minority leader is Republican U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Minority Members

The 113th Congress is notable in that it was the most racially diverse to date.

In the House, white men became a minority among the Democratic conference as several black and Latino members took the oath of office. Of its 433 members, 78 were minorities. Of them 72 were Democrats and six were Republicans.

In the Senate, only three of the 100 members were minorities. Two were Democrats and one was Republican

Women Members

There are 98 women members of the 113th Congress. There are 78 in the House and 20 in the Senate. Of the 78 women in the House, 58 were Democrats and 20 were Republicans. Of the 20 women in the Senate, 16 were Democrats and four were Republicans.

Gay and Lesbian Members

The 113th Congress also featured the first openly gay member of the Senate, Democrat Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin. Also sworn in was the first openly bisexual member of the House, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona.

There are seven openly gay and lesbian members of this session of Congress.

Religious Diversity

The 113th Congress included slightly more religious diversity than past sessions, according to an analysis by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life. There was the first Buddhist in the Senate, Democrat Mazie Hirono of Hawaii, and the first Hindu in Congress altogether, Democrat Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii.

The Pew Forum said the election of the two represented a "gradual increase in religious diversity that mirrors trends in the country as a whole." Still, the majority of the members of Congress were of Protestant denominations.

Still Not Representative

Despite the level of diversity in the 113th Congress, the makeup of the House and Senate still did not reflect the portion of the United States that is minority or female, according to Census Bureau data.

Only 15 percent of both chambers of the 113th Congress were minorities, and 85 percent were white. Nationwide, more than a third of Americans identified themselves as being a minority at that time, and non-Hispanic whites made up only 63.4 percent of the population, according to the Census Bureau.

Women, meantime, made up only 18 percent of the membership of the House and Senate. Nationwide, women made up about 51 percent of the American population, according to the Census.

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