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11 Numbers Give Us a Strikingly Clear View of the Incoming Congress


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Getty - Chip Somodevilla
 The Wildfire is an opinion platform and any opinions or information put forth by contributors are exclusive to them and do not represent the views of IJR.

Tuesday marks the start of the 115th Congress, and as they gather to begin their first sessions ahead of President-elect Trump's January 20th Inauguration, there are a few numbers that stand out as worthy of consideration.

6: The number of years Republicans have controlled the White House and both Houses of Congress.

In the past 70 years, that decided shift of power to the right has only happened twice — for two years under President Dwight D. Eisenhower, and for four years under President George W. Bush.

59: The number of “freshman” descending on Capitol Hill.

The Senate will see seven new faces, and the House will see 52. Two of the new senators are Republicans, and five are Democrats. But more important is this: only two of the seats filled by Democrats were won from Republicans — not enough to tip the balance of power.

In the House, Democrats took nine seats from Republicans. But three Republicans also took seats that had been previously occupied by Democrats — and it wasn't enough for the Democrats to come out on top there either.

21: The number of women in the Senate.

Despite the fact that PBS has referred to the new Senate as a “Bastion of white men,” the 115th Congress will include the greatest number of female Senators in history: 21. Among them are Kamala Harris — the second African American woman to be elected senator — and Catherine Cortez Masto, the first Latina Senator.

83: The number of women in the House of Representatives.

The number of women in the House went down by one in November. But Refinery29 notes that diversity has gone up:

The [freshman] group includes Pramila Jayapal, the first Indian-American woman ever to be elected to the House, and Lisa Blunt Rochester, who will be Delaware's first female and first Black representative.

1,029,505: the median net worth, in dollars, of a member of Congress.

Based on data from 2013, Open Secrets reports that a majority in Congress are millionaires — 271 out of 533, or 50.8%:

While the median net worth of an American family has declined by nearly one-third between 2007 and 2013, members of Congress have recovered quite well from the recession. The Senate’s median net worth went from $2.3 million to $2.8 million over that period, while for members of the House the numbers went from $708,500 to $843,507.

15: The number of cabinet positions President-elect Trump needs to fill.

The Senate will have a full plate from the first day considering the nominations President-elect Trump puts forth for various federal positions. Their official role is to “advise and consent,” but many expect the Democrats — led by New York's Chuck Schumer — to put up a fight.

At least one — General James “Mad Dog” Mattis — will require either a special waiver or the passage of a new law in order to be confirmed.

6: The number of agencies for which President-elect Trump will select a head.

These positions are also subject to the Senate's duty to “advise and consent,” and Democrats (as well as some Republicans) have already been critical of Trump's choices — particularly former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who was selected to head a department he wanted to eliminate in 2012: the Department of Energy.

1 (or a few more): The number of Supreme Court Justices Trump could nominate.

The Supreme Court has been functioning at a loss since last February when conservative Justice Antonin Scalia passed away. Republicans stalled on Merrick Garland, the nominee put forth by President Obama, leaving the seat vacant for President-elect Trump to fill.

But with several other Justices getting on in their years — namely, liberal Justices Ginsburg and Breyer — Trump could find himself with the opportunity to truly shape the court for several generations. And the slim Republican majority still held in the Senate could help him do that.

60 (give or take a few): The number of times the House has voted to repeal Obamacare.

While not everyone agrees on the exact number of times that the House has voted to repeal Obamacare, everyone does agree that it was more than a few. But once Trump is in the White House — after campaigning on “repeal and replace” (mostly) — will it finally get through?

266: The number of Executive Orders drafted and signed by President Obama in the last eight years.

Many speculate that Trump could begin his term by scrapping anything President Obama enacted through Executive Order — former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested last month that Trump could be expected to repeal as much as 70% of Obama's EOs.

However, programs such as Obamacare (which were enacted by law and cannot be undone by executive order) will still fall to Congress to be repealed.

10: The number of Democrats who hail from states won by Trump and are up for re-election in 2018.

Because Republicans only hold a small edge over Democrats in the Senate (52-48), filibusters would seem a likely tactic to hold off the Republican agenda. But PBS notes that Senators up for re-election could break with their party and support Trump — especially if their state was won by Trump in November.

In addition to all of that, there is one more number that Congress is certainly keeping under consideration: 17 — the number of days they have to get settled in before President-elect Trump becomes President Trump, and the real shake-ups begin.

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