Speed Reads


The new Congress is the most racially diverse in American history

The 115th Congress convenes on Tuesday, and it will be the most racially diverse ever, with record numbers of Hispanics, African-Americans, Asian-Americans, and women of color across both chambers. Here is a glance at what it all looks like. Jeva Lange

The Senate

Republicans control the Senate with a 52-48 advantage. The average years of service for members of the Senate is just over 10 years. The average age of a senator is 61.8 years.

Women outnumber men in the Senate freshman class for the first time ever, The Wall Street Journal reports. Of the seven incoming senators, four are women (all four are Democrats). They boost the number of women in the Senate to a new record, 21, up from 20 in the last Congress.

Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is the first Indian-American and second African-American female senator. Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nev.) is the first Latina in the Senate. The Senate will also have its first Thai-American, Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.); Duckworth is also only the second Asian-American senator and the first female senator to have served a combat role in the United States Army.

The House

Republicans hold the House with a 241-194 majority. The average years of service for a House member in 9.3 years, or 4.6 terms. The average age of representatives is 57.8 years.

White men make up 87 percent of House Republicans, nearly reflecting the race of the people who voted them into office — 87 percent of President-elect Donald Trump's votes came from whites last year, The Wall Street Journal reports. The New York Times adds that "nearly two-thirds of current House Republicans have never served with a Republican president and their entire time in Washington has been spent fighting the executive branch.”

White men only make up 41 percent of House Democrats, a number that has dropped 2 percentage points since the last Congress. Seven Hispanic Democrats were elected to the House for the first time, The Hill reports: Nanette Barragán (Calif.), Salud Carbajal (Calif.), Lou Correa (Calif.), Adriano Espaillat (N.Y.), Ruben Kihuen (Nev.), Darren Soto (Fla.), and Vicente Gonzalez (Texas).

The House of Representatives will also swear in its first Indian-American woman, Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.).