25 Unbelievable US Congress Facts You Might Not Know

Congress is somewhat mysterious to the average American. To most people it is just some place that politicians meet and discuss things. They probably make some rules, change some rules, get rid of other rules. It doesn’t seem like a very fun place to be, or a place that would be filled with very likable people. Something like Wall Street except with politics and laws. But is that all that their is to this critical institution? It has been around since the birth of the United States. And legislative bodies made up of representatives from the population are an important aspect of democracies around the globe. Therefore, it is important for us to understand the history and purpose of such institutions. In the span of only a couple hundred years Congress has had its share of eventfulness. Today we are going to go over some of the crazier things that have happened in its short past. We are also going to learn about some of the more unique aspects of what Congress does and the laws that it passes. Some are controversial, some are useful, and obviously some are just incomprehensible. These are 25 unbelievable US congress facts you might not know!

Featured Image: wikipedia

25

In 1814, when the British invaded Washington they held a mock Congress where they voted on whether to burn Washington to the ground. The decision was a unanimous yes.

In 1814, when the British invaded Washington they held a mock Congress where they voted on whether to burn Washington to the ground. The decision was a unanimous yes.Source: plymrock.org, Image: wikipedia
24

In 1985, when Frank Zappa testified before Congress to protest the censorship of rock lyrics, he famously told Congress "they were treating dandruff by decapitation"

In 1985, when Frank Zappa testified before Congress to protest the censorship of rock lyrics, he famously told Congress "they were treating dandruff by decapitation"Source: downlode.org, Image: wikipedia
23

When Walter Washington became the first Mayor of Washington DC, he also became the first African American mayor of any major city in the US.

When Walter Washington became the first Mayor of Washington DC, he also became the first African American mayor of any major city in the US.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
22

After Walter sent a proposed budget to Congress, Democrat John L. McMillan sent a bunch of watermelons to Walter's office

After Walter sent a proposed budget to Congress, Democrat John L. McMillan sent a bunch of watermelons to Walter's officeSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
21

Disney managed to lobby Congress to have Mickey Mouse's copyright extended. This new law is known as the Mickey Mouse Protection Act

Disney managed to lobby Congress to have Mickey Mouse's copyright extended. This new law is known as the Mickey Mouse Protection ActSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
20

In 1990, Congress gave the Pentagon 7 years to pass its financial audit. That deadline has been continuously extended and today it runs until 2017.

In 1990, Congress gave the Pentagon 7 years to pass its financial audit. That deadline has been continuously extended and today it runs until 2017.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
19

Either the President or Congress can declare someone an honorary citizen of the United States. This has only been done 7 times

Either the President or Congress can declare someone an honorary citizen of the United States. This has only been done 7 timesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
18

The 27th Amendment to the Constitution restricts Congress from raising its pay. It was ratified in 1992...over 200 years after it was first approved

The 27th Amendment to the Constitution restricts Congress from raising its pay. It was ratified in 1992...over 200 years after it was first approvedSource: wikipedia, Image: pixabay
17

In 1986, Congress voted to impose sanctions against South Africa. President Reagan vetoed the bill but Congress vetoed his veto. This was the first time something like this had ever happened

In 1986, Congress voted to impose sanctions against South Africa. President Reagan vetoed the bill but Congress vetoed his veto. This was the first time something like this had ever happenedSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
16

Congress originally voted to pay George Washington $25,000 per year. He turned it down to maintain his image has being a public servant but later accepted it in order to prevent the presidency from being restricted to wealthy individuals who can afford to serve without pay

Congress originally voted to pay George Washington $25,000 per year. He turned it down to maintain his image has being a public servant but later accepted it in order to prevent the presidency from being restricted to wealthy individuals who can afford to serve without paySource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
15

The drinking age in the US was raised from 18 to 21 due to the lobby of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They got Congress to pass a law penalizing any state that didn't comply

The drinking age in the US was raised from 18 to 21 due to the lobby of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. They got Congress to pass a law penalizing any state that didn't complySource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
14

Between 2008 and 2010, 30 American corporations spent more money lobbying than they did paying taxes. In fact, it was found that on average they spent nearly half a million dollars...per day

Between 2008 and 2010, 30 American corporations spent more money lobbying than they did paying taxes. In fact, it was found that on average they spent nearly half a million dollars...per daySource: ibtimes.com, Image: wikipedia
13

The state of Idaho has a meaningless name. Lobbyists had managed to convince Congress that "idaho" is a Shochone word for "gem of the mountains" but it really wasn't, and nobody ever checked to make sure.

The state of Idaho has a meaningless name. Lobbyists had managed to convince Congress that "idaho" is a Shochone word for "gem of the mountains" but it really wasn't, and nobody ever checked to make sure.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
12

"Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Cold War to show resistance to Communism because the Communists were atheistic

"Under God" was added to the Pledge of Allegiance during the Cold War to show resistance to Communism because the Communists were atheisticSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
11

For a period of 10 days in 2014 Wikipedia had to ban IPs from Congress because of "disruptive editing"

For a period of 10 days in 2014 Wikipedia had to ban IPs from Congress because of "disruptive editing"Source: rt.com, Image: wikipedia
10

Since 1909, Congress has played a baseball game against itself, the Republicans vs the Democrats. So far the Republicans have won two extra games

Since 1909, Congress has played a baseball game against itself, the Republicans vs the Democrats. So far the Republicans have won two extra gamesSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
9

In 1971, Mike Gravel, a senator from Alaska read thousands of pages of pentagon papers in Congress in order to expose lies about the Vietnam War

In 1971, Mike Gravel, a senator from Alaska read thousands of pages of pentagon papers in Congress in order to expose lies about the Vietnam WarSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
8

The 94th Congress passed American Public Law 94-479 which states that no officer can ever outrank George Washington. This means that if a general ever attains 6 stars, Washington would be upgraded to 7 stars.

The 94th Congress passed American Public Law 94-479 which states that no officer can ever outrank George Washington. This means that if a general ever attains 6 stars, Washington would be upgraded to 7 stars.Source: gpo.gov, Image: wikipedia
7

The only member of Congress to have ever been killed while on the job was Leo Ryan. During a human rights investigation in Jonestown he was assassinated.

The only member of Congress to have ever been killed while on the job was Leo Ryan. During a human rights investigation in Jonestown he was assassinated.Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
6

In 1927, millions of people petitioned Congress to switch to the metric system. The manufacturing industry, however, opposed the petition saying that the cost of conversion would be too high

In 1927, millions of people petitioned Congress to switch to the metric system. The manufacturing industry, however, opposed the petition saying that the cost of conversion would be too highSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
5

Congress funds an Arabic channel called Alhurra. As with other forms of US public diplomacy it is not allowed to be shown in the United States

Congress funds an Arabic channel called Alhurra. As with other forms of US public diplomacy it is not allowed to be shown in the United StatesSource: sourcewatch.org, Image: wikipedia
4

Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act but Congress ended up passing it anyway. This signaled the start of the era of prohibition

Woodrow Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act but Congress ended up passing it anyway. This signaled the start of the era of prohibitionSource: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
3

In 1970, the US Postal Service went on strike after Congress only raised their pay by 4%

In 1970, the US Postal Service went on strike after Congress only raised their pay by 4%Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia
2

At the same time, Congress raised their own wages by 41%

At the same time, Congress raised their own wages by 41%Source: wikipedia
1

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, only one member of Congress (out of 470) voted against the war. It was Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of Congress. She said that "as a woman I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else"

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, only one member of Congress (out of 470) voted against the war. It was Jeannette Rankin, the first female member of Congress. She said that "as a woman I can't go to war and I refuse to send anyone else"Source: wikipedia, Image: wikipedia


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