United States Congress: 20 Facts & Figures

1Leo Ryan

Leo Ryan is the only member of US Congress to have ever been killed in the line of duty. He was assassinated while investigating human rights violations at Jonestown.


2Woodrow Wilson

President Woodrow Wilson actually vetoed the Volstead Act, but congress passed it anyway bringing on the beginning of Prohibition.


3Pentagon

In 1990, the U.S. Congress gave the Pentagon until 1997 to pass its first financial audit of the Department of Defense (The CFO Act). Congress has since then continued to extend this deadline for the Pentagon, who has until 2017.


4Ronald Reagan

In 1986, the US Congress passed a bill to impose sanctions against South Africa because of apartheid. Ronald Reagan vetoed it, but Congress overrode his veto. This foreign policy override was the first of its kind in the 20th century.


5Congress baseball game

Every year, the US Congress plays a baseball game against one another: Republicans vs. Democrats. The Republicans have won two more games than the Democrats since the inaugural 1909 game.


6US Postal Service strike

In 1970, the US Postal Service decided on a strike after a Congressional decision to raise the wages of postal workers by only 4%. At the same time, Congress raised its own pay by 41%.


7Frank Zappa

On September 19, 1985, when Frank Zappa famously testified before Congress to protest the PMRC’s attempt to legislate and censor heavy metal music lyrics, Zappa compared the proposed legislation to “treating dandruff by decapitation.”


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8Congressional hearings

In the 1950s, there were so many Congressional hearings on Communists and homosexuals infiltrating the government that one congressman said: “I do not know what homosexuals are, but I never saw anybody get as much free advertising in the Congress of the United States in all my life.”


9Alhurra

Alhurra is an Arabic TV channel funded completely by the U.S. Congress and is forbidden from being aired in the US.


10U.S. Congress

U.S. Congress voted to pay George Washington $25,000 a year. He declined since he valued his image as a selfless public servant, but ultimately accepted to avoid a precedent where the presidency would be perceived as limited only to wealthy individuals who could serve without pay.

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