The Senate Chamber

The Senate moved into its current chamber when the north wing of the Capitol was completed in 1859. Since the Civil War era, senators have deliberated, voted on legislation, and advised on and consented to treaties and nominations in this chamber. As president of the Senate, the vice president of the United States presides from the central dais. The tier below is assigned to the assistant secretary of the Senate, the journal clerk, parliamentarian, and legislative clerk.

One hundred desks are arranged in a semicircular pattern divided according to party. Viewed from the dais, the Senate chamber has the Republicans seated to the left and the Democrats to the right of the center aisle. Many longstanding traditions are respected in the Senate. Each senator chooses a desk and location on the basis of seniority within his or her political party. Galleries surrounding the chamber provide viewing space for the public and press.

Historic Events in the Senate Chamber


Panorama Hot Spots