Stewards of the iconic buildings and grounds of Capitol Hill since 1793.

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Old Senate Chamber designed by Benjamin Henry Latrobe, this room was home to the U.S. Senate from 1819 until 1859 and later to the U.S. Supreme Court from 1860-1935.
Located north of the Capitol Rotunda is the richly decorated Old Senate...

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A view of the Capitol Visitor Center lit up at night
The Office of Congressional Accessibility Services (OCAS) provides a variety...

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AOC members holding the Historic Preservation Award that they received
The Architect of the Capitol strives to perform all work at a high level of...

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Slave Labor Commemorative Marker in Emancipation Hall at the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center.
Interpreters in Exhibition Hall and Emancipation Hall use a variety of hands-on...

Dirksen Building History

Dirksen Building History

Dirksen Building History
Overview 

Until the 1940s, Senate staff positions were mostly clerical and custodial. President Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal and the response to the nation's entry into the Second World War fueled the growth and domination of the executive branch. As a result, congressional leaders became convinced of the need to greatly expand their staffs to include experts on a growing list of complex policy issues.

Soon after the war ended, Congress passed the Legislative Reorganization Act of 1946. This landmark statute allowed Congress to hire professional staffs at salaries equal to those employed by the executive branch. Each committee gained four professional and six clerical aides. The surge in numbers of new staff made a second building necessary - one intended primarily to accommodate committees.

In a departure from committee arrangements in the Russell Building, where members and witnesses sat around a common table, the new building would feature large hearing rooms with raised platforms for members and facilities suitable for the new medium of television.
 

Last Updated: May 14, 2012