So you think you know Congress? Take our quiz.

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With job approval ratings in single digits, Congress is at record lows in public opinion. Is it because the nation's lawmakers are truly performing badly? Or is the institution – viewed by Founding Fathers as the preeminent branch – maligned and misunderstood? See how much you know about the Congress. Take our quiz! [Updated Jan. 26, 2015]

Why is the House of Representatives called 'the People's House?'

The House was founded at the 1787 Constitutional Convention; the Senate was established by amendment in 1808.


The House was originally elected by the people. The Senate was not.


House members pay for their own parking.


Members of the House are seen as less senior than senators, therefore closer to the people.


Who described the US Senate as a 'saucer' to cool hot tea?

James Madison


George Washington


Barack Obama


Lyndon B. Johnson


When did Congress first recognize that part of its job is to investigate the executive branch?

Watergate scandal of 1973


Teapot Dome scandal of 1922


Stock market crash of 1929


St. Clair Expedition of 1791


Why was Sen. Charles Sumner (R) severely beaten on the floor of the Senate?

He was caught texting during a vote.


He spoke against admitting Kansas to the Union as a slave state.


He delivered what was seen to be a pro-British speech during the War of 1812.


He called for the impeachment of President Lincoln over his handling of the Civil War.


What's the annual salary of House member?









What is the annual salary for a US senator?









New ethics rules require members and congressional staff to refuse gifts from lobbyists once viewed as routine on Capitol Hill. Three of the items below are now forbidden. Which one is not?

Meals valued at more than $50.


Food at a lobbyist reception, unless it can be eaten standing up without a knife or fork.


Travel financed in any part by a lobbyist, travel accompanied by a lobbyist, or travel financed by a firm that has hired a lobbyist.


Ads supporting a lawmaker's campaign or defaming a challenger financed (without limit) by corporations or unions.


Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned over criminal charges, but he has a bust prominently placed just off the Senate floor. Why?

He once referred to the Washington press corps as "nattering nabobs of negativism," and the Senate appreciates an elegant turn of phrase.


He had previously served as Senate majority leader.


He was honored as the first Greek-American to become vice president.


As vice president, Agnew was also president of the Senate.


If the Senate is divided 50-50, which party gets to hold control?

The party that led the previous Senate continues in the majority.


The party of the president.


The minority party in the previous Congress automatically becomes the majority.


The House of Representatives decides.


How many seats do Democrats need to win a majority in the Senate?

at least four seats


at least six seats


at least eight seats


at least nine seats


When was the first Senate filibuster?

Day 1 of the US Senate, 1789


Vote on the Louisiana purchase, 1803


Vote to charter second Bank of the United States, 1841


Nomination of Robert Bork to Supreme Court, 1987


Who holds the record for the longest Senate filibuster?

Strom Thurmond


Harry Reid


Bernie Sanders


Huey Long


When did the Senate first change its rules to limit the right of senators to speak without limit?

Senate banking legislation, 1841


Woodrow Wilson's plan to arm merchant ships, 1917


Launch of C-SPAN, 1979


Filibuster of Bush-era judicial nominations, 2005


The objection of a single senator can significantly delay Senate business, including which of the following measures?

Hold up a presidential nomination.


Block a request to dispense with reading of the text of an amendment before a vote.


Block a request to dispense with the reading of the entire bill before a vote.


All of the above.


The vice president is first in the line of presidential succession, then Speaker of the House. Who's next?

Senate majority leader


Secretary of State


Presidential spouse


Senate president pro tempore


What congressional job is often compared to "herding cats"?

Speaker of the House


Senate majority leader


Senate parliamentarian


Chairman of the Senate congeniality caucus


The Senate majority leader frequently changes his vote and votes against his own party. Why?

It is an embarrassment for the Senate majority leader to vote for a losing measure.


If a majority leader winds up too often on the losing side of a vote, he forfeits claim to be leader of the majority.


It's another way to confuse journalists.


It's a nod to Senate procedure. The Senate majority leader can't bring a matter back to the floor for consideration unless he previously opposed it.


How many voting members are there in the House of Representatives?









Eleanor Holmes Norton is a delegate to the US House of Representatives, representing the District of Columbia. She has an office, a staff, a parking place, and gym privileges. What can't she do in her official capacity that other House members can?

Speak and offer amendments on the floor.


Vote on final passage of legislation.


Vote in committee.


Take oath to support and defend the Constitution.


What are the three branches of government?

Some congressional leaders have taken to referring to the House and Senate as two separate branches of government, prompting the question: What are the three branches of government?

Senate, House, and White House


Congress, White House, and Jon Stewart


Legislative, executive, and judicial


Congress, White House, and press


The bronze statue of freedom that tops the dome of the US Capitol is crowned with feathers. What's that about?

A reference to the eagle's status as national bird


A tribute to native Americans


A reference to headgear worn by Roman senators


An alternative to the cap of a freed slave originally planned by the artist