Setting up the Desks by the Senate Pages
Isaac Bassett, who served in the Senate Chamber for 64 years, began his career as a Senate page in 1831. Bassett was the second page appointed to serve in the Senate. In his unpublished memoir, he documented that one of his many duties as a page was to ensure that the senators were supplied with paper, quills, and candles on their desks. The Senate pages today have responsibilities similar to those of the earliest pages.
The current Senate pages are responsible for setting up the Senate Chamber each morning the Senate is in session. This includes placing a copy of the Congressional Record, Executive Calendar, Calendar of Business, the day’s legislation (bill and report), any legislative notices or bulletins, and two pencils on each desk. The pages arrange the Congressional Record, Executive Calendar, and Calendar of Business in the upper left hand corner of the desk, while the pending bill and corresponding report are placed in the center of the desk. The Congressional Record and the two calendars are commonly referred to as “the dailies.”
The Congressional Record is, to a large extent, a verbatim written account of the Senate’s proceedings from the previous day. It is delivered to the Senate each morning by the Government Printing Office. The Executive Calendar lists nominations and treaties sent to the Senate by the president that are ready for Senate action. The Calendar of Business (also known as the Legislative Calendar) lists bills and resolutions that have been reported out of committee or are otherwise ready for floor action.