The Political Makeup of Congress

Do the Republicans or Democrats Control the House and Senate?

The makeup of Congress changes every two years, when voters elect Representatives in the House and some members of the U.S. Senate. So which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives now? Which party has the power in the U.S. Senate?

Here's a current guide to the political makeup of Congress and the White House. For a more in-depth, visual guide to the party in power of Congress dating back to the 1940s, please visit this website.

114th Congress: 2015 and 2016

Barack Obama
President Barack Obama. Mark Wilson / Getty Images News

​The 114th Congress was notable because Republicans won their largest majorities in the House and Senate in decades after voters used the midterm election in 2014 to express dissatisfaction with a Democratic president, Barack Obama. Democrats lost control of the Senate in the 2014 elections.

Said Obama after the results became clear: "Obviously, Republicans had a good night. And they deserve credit for running good campaigns. Beyond that, I'll leave it to all of you and the professional pundits to pick through yesterday's results."

  • White House: Democrat (Barack Obama).
  • House: Republicans held 246 seats, Democrats held 186 seats; there were three vacancies.
  • Senate: Republicans held 54 seats, Democrats held 44 seats; there were two independents, both of whom caucused with the Democrats.

 

113th Congress: 2013 and 2014

  • White House: Democrat (Barack Obama)
  • House: Republicans held 232 seats, Democrats held 200 seats; there were two vacancies
  • Senate: Democrats held 53 seats, Republicans held 45 seats; there were two independents, both of whom caucused with the Democrats.

112th Congress: 2011 and 2012

​Members of the 112th Congress were elected in a 2010 midterm election "shellacking" of the Democratic Party. Republicans won back the House two years after voters handed control of the White House and both chambers of Congress to the Democrats.

After the 2010 midterms, Obama said: "People are frustrated. They're deeply frustrated with the pace of our economic recovery and the opportunities that they hope for their children and their grandchildren. They want jobs to come back faster."

  • White House: Democrat (Barack Obama)
  • House: Republicans held 242 seats, Democrats held 193 seats
  • Senate: Democrats held 51 seats, Republicans held 47 seats; there was one independent and one independent Democrat

111th Congress: 2009 and 2010

  • White House: Democrat (Barack Obama)
  • House: Democrats held 257 seats, Republicans held 178 seats
  • Senate: Democrats held 57 seats, Republicans held 41 seats; there was one independent and one independent Democrat

*Notes: U.S. Sen. Arlen Specter was re-elected in 2004 as a Republican but switched parties to become a Democrat on April 30, 2009. U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was re-elected in 2006 as an independent candidate, and became an Independent Democrat. U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont was elected in 2006 as an independent.

110th Congress: 2007 and 2008

Bush delivers 2002 State of Union
Bush delivers his 2002 State of the Union address. Whitehouse Photo

​The 110th Congress is noteworthy because its members were elected by voters frustrated by the protracted war in Iraq and the continued loss of American soldiers. Democrats were swept into power in Congress, leaving Republican President George W. Bush and his party with diminished authority.

"The unexpected Democratic victory hobbled the right wing of the power elite and returned moderate conservatives to the central position they had held on policy issues for decades until the Republicans took control of the White House in 2000 and then both houses of Congress in 2002," wrote University of California political scientist G. William Domhoff.

Said Bush after the results became clear in 2006: "I'm obviously disappointed with the outcome of the election, and as the head of the Republican Party, I share a large part of the responsibility. I told my party's leaders that it is now our duty to put the elections behind us and work together with the Democrats and independents on the great issues facing this country."

  • White House: Republican (George W. Bush)
  • House: Democrats held 233 seats, Republicans held 202 seats
  • Senate: Democrats held 49 seats, Republicans held 49 seats; there was one independent and one independent Democrat

*Notes: U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut was re-elected in 2006 as an independent candidate, and became an Independent Democrat. U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont was elected in 2006 as an independent.

109th Congress: 2005 and 2006

  • White House: Republican (George W. Bush)
  • House: Republicans held 232 seats, Democrats held 202 seats; there was one independent
  • Senate: Republicans held 55 seats, Democrats held 44 seats; there was one independent

108th Congress: 2003 and 2004

  • White House: Republican (George W. Bush)
  • House: Republicans held 229 seats, Democrats held 205 seats; there was one independent
  • Senate: Republicans held 51 seats, Democrats held 48 seats; there was one independent

107th Congress: 2001 and 2002

  • White House: Republican (George W. Bush)
  • House: Republicans held 221 seats, Democrats held 212 seats; there were two independents
  • Senate: Republicans held 50 seats, Democrats held 48 seats; there were two independents

*Notes: This session of the Senate began with the chamber evenly divided between Republicans and Democrats. But on June 6, 2001, U.S. Sen. James Jeffords of Vermont switched from Republican to independent and began caucusing with the Democrats, giving the Democrats a one-seat advantage. Later on Oct. 25, 2002, Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul D. Wellstone died and independent Dean Barkley was appointed to fill the vacancy. On Nov. 5, 2002, Republican U.S. Sen. James Talent of Missouri replaced Democratic U.S. Sen. Jean Carnahan, shifting balance back to the Republicans.

106th Congress: 1999 and 2000

Former President Bill Clinton
Former President Bill Clinton. Mathias Kniepeiss/Getty Images News
  • White House: Democrat (Bill Clinton)
  • House: Republicans held 223 seats, Democrats held 211 seats; there was one independent
  • Senate: Republicans held 55 seats, Democrats held 45 seats

For a more in-depth, visual guide to the party in power of Congress dating back to the 1940s, please visit this website.