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Centennial of Direct Election
April 8, marks the 100th anniversary of the ratification of the 17th Amendment, establishing direct election of senators. More»
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
Image of the 1915 Bombing in the Capitol Building
July 2, 1915

During the early months of World War I, a former Harvard University German language instructor decided to express his anger at America's apparent shift from a policy of neutrality to one of support for Great Britain.

2013 Session Schedule
Scheduled Hearings
Active Legislation
Floor Schedule

Monday, Jul 08, 2013

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

Previous Meeting

Thursday, Jun 27, 2013

The Senate convened at 9:30 a.m. and adjourned at 7:19 p.m. 4 record votes were taken.

Daily Digest(latest issue)

Senate Calendar(latest issue)

Executive Calendar(latest issue, PDF format)

Floor Activity
View the previous legislative day's Floor Activity.
The Idea of the Senate

Ever since the framers of the United States Constitution created the Senate, senators, scholars, journalists, and other observers have sought to explain its role in the federal system of checks and balances. What is it that makes the Senate stand apart from other legislative bodies? Why have its seemingly arcane rules and traditions survived, and what purposes do they still serve?

The Idea of the Senate features thoughtful analysis of the Senate�s rules and procedures, its history and traditions, and its personnel and prerogatives. Covering more than two centuries of political thought, each entry in this collection provides a quotation from the original source placed into historical context.

The United States Senate in Session

As a deliberative institution and a body of equals�among individual members and among states�the Senate has frustrated presidents, members of the House of Representatives, and even Senate leaders, who seek speedy enactment of legislation. There have been many efforts to modernize the Senate in order to meet new challenges. Yet despite more than 200 years of pressures to change, the Senate as an institution remains remarkably similar to the body created by the Constitutional Convention in 1787. It retains all of its original powers, including its authority to give advice and consent to presidents on nominations and treaties, to serve as a court of impeachment, and to have an equal say with the House of Representatives on all legislation.

As these selected writings indicate, the debate over the Senate�s role in our constitutional system is as old as the Senate itself, and has often stirred thoughtful commentary and critique.

Past Feature Articles

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