Serving Congress and the Supreme Court, preserving America's Capitol, and inspiring memorable experiences

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Baptism of Pocahontas
This painting depicts the ceremony in which Pocahontas, daughter of the...

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Visitor Hours for the Buildings on Capitol Hill
Visitor Hours for the Buildings on Capitol Hill.

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The AOC maintains the grounds of the U.S. Capitol
The roles and responsibilities of the Architect of the Capitol cover an...

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Guided Talk
Short talks will be held weekdays 9/17-9/23 at 1 p.m. in the Capitol Visitor...

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