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

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U.S. Capitol Dome was constructed with 8,909,200 pounds of ironwork bolted together in a masterpiece of American will and ingenuity.
The U.S. Capitol’s dome made of cast iron was designed by Thomas U. Walter and...

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A virtual Map of Capitol Hill from above
View a map of the U.S. Capitol and other buildings and grounds cared for by the...

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Photo of the U.S. Capitol Building, West Front, Early April 2014.
A multi-phased project designed to address deferred maintenance, extend the...

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Photographic portrait of Ari Novy, Ph.D., as Executive Director of the United States Botanic Garden
The Architect of the Capitol announces the selection of Dr. Ari Novy as...

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