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Inaugural Web site
The Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies has launched a website to provide up-to-date information about the 2013 Presidential Inauguration and related ceremonies along with historical information and photos of inaugurals past.
Civil War Sesquicentennial
The Great Uprising of the North--An Anniversary Picture--April 12, 1862.
In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, a continuing series of online features explores the Senate's wartime experience.
This Week in Senate History
December 10, 1816

In order to establish greater institutional efficiency, the Senate created its first "standing" or permanent legislative committees. From 1789 to 1816 the Senate relied on three-to-five member temporary or select committees that were created to deal with a specific legislative issue.

2013 Session Schedule
Scheduled Hearings
Active Legislation
Floor Schedule

Monday, Dec 17, 2012

2:00 p.m.: Convene and begin a period of morning business.

Thereafter, resume consideration of H.R.1, the legislative vehicle for the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Bill.

Previous Meeting

Thursday, Dec 13, 2012

The Senate convened at 9:30 a.m. and adjourned at 6:29 p.m. 2 record votes were taken.

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Floor Activity
View the previous legislative day's Floor Activity.
Before Taking the Oath

Every two years, following the congressional elections, a new class of senators comes to the Capitol to assume the duties of United States senators. They take the oath of office in January, but the business of becoming a senator starts immediately after the election.

The United States Senate in Session

From 1789 until the 1970s, a new senator had to rely upon the friendly advice of senior members or Senate officers and staff to learn the traditions and folkways of the Senate. Beginning in the 1970s, however, the Senate instituted a formal orientation program designed to help newly elected members become acquainted with the Capitol, learn the Senate’s rules and procedures, set up an office and hire staff, and participate in leadership elections. For many years, Senator Robert C. Byrd, the Senate’s longest-serving member, spoke to each freshman class, offering his advice and historical perspective.

The Opening of the United States Senate

At times, senators have been appointed or have come to office in unusual ways or during difficult periods of our national history, but every new senator faces similar challenges. For this reason, as former Senate Parliamentarian Floyd Riddick explains, every two years the Senate creates a “mini-school” for its new members.

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