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About the Secretary of the Senate | Offices of the Secretary

Legislative Offices

The secretary of the Senate is responsible for recording the legislative process. Clerks keep the minutes of Senate proceedings for publication in the Senate Journal and Senate Executive Journal. The secretary oversees the recording and transcribing of daily proceedings for publication in the Congressional Record. Other Senate floor staff who report to the secretary include the parliamentarian, bill clerk, legislative clerk, and enrolling clerk. Every act passed by the Senate is examined and signed by the secretary.

  • Parliamentarian
  • The parliamentarian advises the presiding officer, senators and their staffs, committee staffs, and representatives and their staffs on all matters requiring interpretation of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the precedents of the Senate, unanimous consent agreements, and provisions of public law affecting the proceedings of the Senate. The parliamentarian refers to the appropriate committee all legislation introduced in the Senate, all measures received from the House of Representatives, all official communications from the executive branch, memorials from state and local governments, and petitions from private citizens.

  • Bill Clerk
  • The bill clerk records actions of the Senate, keeps an authoritative historical record of Senate business, enters daily legislative activities and votes into the computerized Legislative Information System (LIS), and assigns numbers to all bills and resolutions.

  • Legislative Clerk
  • The legislative clerk reads aloud bills, resolutions, conference reports, amendments, and other material when directed by the presiding officer, calls the roll for quorums and recorded (yea and nay) votes, and prepares the Calendar of Business for each daily session of the Senate. In addition, the legislative clerk maintains official copies of measures pending before the Senate and receives all proposed and agreed-upon amendments.

  • Journal Clerk
  • The journal clerk records the minutes of the daily legislative proceedings of the Senate and prepares them for publication in the Senate Journal, as required by Article I, section 5 of the Constitution. The journal clerk also prepares a history of bills and resolutions for inclusion in the printed Journal.

  • Executive Clerk
  • The executive clerk records actions taken by the Senate during executive sessions (proceedings on nominations and treaties), which are published as the Executive Journal at the end of each session of Congress. The executive clerk also prepares the Executive Calendar, which is printed daily when any nominations, treaties, or resolutions pertaining to executive business are pending before the Senate. The executive clerk also prepares all nomination and treaty advice and consent resolutions for transmittal to the president.

  • Enrolling Clerk
  • The enrolling clerk proofreads and prepares for printing all Senate-passed legislation prior to its transmittal to the House of Representatives, the National Archives, the secretary of state, the United States Claims Court, and the White House. The enrolling clerk physically transmits all Senate messages to the House of Representatives and arranges for delivery of all enrolled bills and resolutions to the White House.

  • Official Reporters of Debates
  • The official reporters of debates prepare and edit for publication in the Congressional Record a substantially verbatim report of the proceedings of the Senate and serve as liaison for all Senate personnel on matters relating to the content of the Record. Whenever the Senate is in session, an official reporter is present on the floor stenographically reporting a verbatim record of the spoken word. The chief reporter develops a schedule so each of the eight reporters covers the floor in 15-minute shifts, rotating throughout the day to record all debate.

  • Captioning Services
  • The Captioning Services Office provides real-time closed captioning of Senate floor proceedings for the deaf and hearing-impaired community. Real-time captioning is the live electronic subtitling of the audio portion of a television program.

Administrative Offices

The secretary of the Senate exercises a host of administrative duties. Just as the first secretary purchased the quill pens, ink, and parchment needed by 18th-century senators, modern secretaries of the Senate have responsibility for the Senate Stationery Room, which provides needed supplies to each Senate office. From the beginning, the secretary has served as the Senate's disbursing officer and today oversees the Financial Clerk and the Disbursing Office.

  • Disbursing Office
  • The Disbursing Office compiles Senate budget estimates for presentation to the Committee on Appropriations, maintains and disburses all Senate-appropriated funds and all Senate payrolls, interprets and carries out all matters related to budgeting, appropriations, compensation, payroll deductions, retirement, life and health insurance, and other employee benefits authorized for senators and staff.

  • Printing and Document Services
  • The Office of Printing and Document Services serves as liaison to the Government Publishing Office for the Senate's official printing. The office assists the Senate by coordinating, scheduling, preparing, and delivering Senate legislation, hearings, documents, committee prints, and miscellaneous publications and provides printed copies of all legislation and public laws to the Senate and the public. In addition, the office assigns publication numbers to all hearings, committee prints, documents, and miscellaneous publications; orders all blank paper, envelopes and letterhead for the Senate; and prepares page counts of all Senate hearings in order to compensate commercial reporting companies for the preparation of hearings.

  • Stationery Room
  • The Stationery Room is a nonprofit merchandising outlet that acts as purchasing agent for stationery supplies and maintains adequate inventories to meet Senate office needs.

  • Gift Shop
  • The Senate Gift Shop offers members, staff, and the general public the opportunity to purchase Senate memorabilia and gift items.

  • Interparliamentary Services
  • The Office of Interparliamentary Services is responsible for administrative, financial, and protocol functions for all interparliamentary conferences in which the Senate participates and for special delegations authorized by the leadership. The office also provides appropriate assistance to other Senate delegations to foreign countries.

  • Senate Security
  • The Office of Senate Security is responsible for the administration of classified national security information and personnel, communications, and computer security programs to protect classified information in Senate offices and committees. It serves as the Senate's liaison to the executive branch in matters relating to the secure transmittal and distribution of classified national security information.

  • Public Records
  • The Office of Public Records receives, processes, and maintains for public inspection records, reports, and other documents filed with the secretary involving the Ethics in Government Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Mutual Security Act, and the Senate Code of Official Conduct. As provided by various Senate rules, it also handles public financial disclosure, reimbursed travel reports, registration of mass mailings, political fund designations, and supervisors' reports on individuals performing Senate services. The office reviews the filings of and provides guidance to registrants under the Lobbying Disclosure Act.

  • Chief Counsel for Employment
  • The Office of the Senate Chief Counsel for Employment provides legal advice to, and represents, Senate offices in employment law matters and lawsuits under the Congressional Accountability Act, which brings the Senate under 11 federal laws regulating the employer-employee relationship.

  • Library
  • The Senate Library is a legislative and general reference library that provides both traditional and digital information services and maintains a comprehensive collection of congressional, governmental, and other publications for the use of Senate offices and the media.

  • Conservation and Preservation
  • The Office of Conservation and Preservation develops and coordinates programs directly related to the preservation of Senate records and materials for which the secretary of the Senate has statutory authority. Initiatives include de-acidification of paper records, conservation of books and documents, and collection surveys.

  • Curator
  • The Office of Senate Curator, under the direction of the Senate Commission on Art, administers the museum programs of the Senate for the Capitol and Senate office buildings. The curator and staff suggest acquisitions, design and present exhibits, and produce publications. The office studies, identifies, arranges, protects, preserves, and records the historical paintings, sculpture, and furnishings in the Senate Collection. The office also exercises supervisory responsibility for those chambers in the Capitol under the jurisdiction of the Senate Commission on Art.

  • Historical Office
  • The Senate Historical Office collects and provides information on important events, dates, statistics, precedents, and historical comparisons of current and past activities of the Senate for use by senators, staff, the media, scholars, and the public. The office advises senators and committees on the cost-effective disposition of their noncurrent office files, assists researchers seeking access to Senate records, provides historical talks, tours, and other presentations to the Senate and the public, and conducts a program of oral history interviews with retired senators, officers, and staff. The office maintains extensive collections of photographs and biographical files on all former members.

  • Page School
  • The Senate Page School serves all appointed Senate pages. It exists to provide a smooth transition from and to the students' home schools, providing students with an accredited educational program.

  • Information Systems
  • The business of the Senate is dependent upon the delivery of accurate and timely information. Legislative status, text of debates, bills, reports, financial transactions and the communication between and among staff responsible for these tasks is critical to the functioning of the Office of the Secretary and the Senate. The Office of Information Systems augments the services of the sergeant at arms Senate Computer Center, supporting networks and applications in various locations within the Capitol complex.

  • Legislative Information System Project Office
  • The Legislative Information System (LIS) Project Office manages technology projects related to creating and reporting legislative data and documents in various electronic formats. The goal of the LIS is to provide a central repository for all legislative information, and the intent of the data standards project is to use industry standards for legislative data and documents that will facilitate authoring, composition, exchange, search, and retrieval.

  • Web Technology
  • The Office of Web Technology designs, develops, and maintains the Senate's internal and external websites. The first external Senate website was launched in 1995 and served primarily as a portal to senators' websites. The project was a joint effort by the sergeant at arms, the secretary of the Senate, and the Committee on Rules and Administration. By 1997 heavy traffic on the website led the secretary to create the position of webmaster to assume the responsibility of maintaining the content and responding to email. With the website averaging more than 60,000 visitors a day and the secretary's website on the Senate intranet growing, in 2003 the Office of Web Technology was established in the Office of the Secretary.