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The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has launched a Web site to provide up-to-date information about the 2009 Presidential Inauguration and related ceremonies along with historical information and photos of inaugurals past.
This Week in Senate History
Painting of Congress Hall in Philadelphia
December 6, 1790

The Senate met for the first time in its new quarters on the second floor of Philadelphia’s Congress Hall, having moved from its previous chamber in New York City’s Federal Hall. The national government remained in Philadelphia until 1800, when it relocated to Washington, DC.

2008 Session Schedule
Scheduled Hearings
Active Legislation
Floor Schedule

Thursday, Dec 11, 2008

10:00 a.m.: Convene and begin a period of morning business.

Thereafter, resume consideration of the motion to proceed to H.R.7005, Alternative Minimum Tax Relief Act of 2008 .

Previous Meeting

Wednesday, Dec 10, 2008

The Senate convened at 10:30 a.m. and recessed at 6:45 p.m. No record votes were taken.

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Pro Tem: The Senate's President Pro Tempore

The Constitution requires the Senate to elect a president pro tempore to serve as presiding officer in the absence of the vice president. The president pro tempore is authorized to preside over the Senate, sign legislation, and issue the oath of office to new senators.

John J. Ingalls (KS)  First President Pro Tempore John Langdon (NH) President Pro Tempore Thomas W. Ferry (MI)
John J. Ingalls John Langdon Thomas W. Ferry

For many years, the vice president routinely presided over the Senate, and presidents pro tempore were elected to serve only during the absence of the vice president. To give the office continuity, in 1890 the Senate established continuous terms for the president pro tempore. In his or her absence, the president pro tempore names other senators to perform the duties of the chair, allowing them to grow more accustomed to the Senate's rules and procedures. In the Senate's earlier years, it elected to the post senior members who had shown a particular knowledge of Senate rules and procedures. Since the mid-20th century, tradition has dictated that the position go to the senior member of the majority party. The Senate's president pro tempore also stands third in the line of presidential succession.

To learn more about the president pro tempore, the vice president, or other Senate officers, visit the Virtual Reference Desk, or read the new publication from the Senate Historical Office, Pro Tem.

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