The ringing of bells transparent the Capitol and the 3 office buildings signals the opened of a day’s session and also announces votes, quorum calls, and other legislative activities. The bells correspond through a collection of lights above the doors top top the north next of the chamber and at various places on the next of Capitol Hill. In ~ the beginning of each day-to-day meeting, the presiding officer accompanies the chaplain to the rostrum because that the opening prayer and leads the in the recitation of the Pledge that Allegiance. The vice president of the United claims serves as president of the and also therefore that presiding officer. In the vice president’s absence, the president agree tempore -- that is generally, but not always, the most an elderly member the the bulk party -- presides or designates various other senators native the majority party to take it the chair. Senators must straight all remarks to the presiding officer, whom they attend to as “Mr. President” or “Madam President.” The clerks of the sit in ~ a long marble desk in front of the presiding officer. The journal clerk documents minutes the the proceedings, as is forced by the Constitution. The parliamentarian advises the presiding officer and also members about rules and procedures. The legislative clerk calls the roll and also receives bills, resolutions, and also amendments readily available by senators. In ~ the two mahogany desks in front of this clerks sit the staffs the the party secretaries, who keep members of their parties informed around the subject matter at hand and also tallies that votes cast. pages stationed on both sides of the rostrum offer as messengers because that senators. Pages, who space students selected from amongst applicants who space in your junior year that high school, attend at an early stage morning classes at a school located in Webster Hall, situated a few blocks indigenous the Capitol. The majority and decimal leaders accounting the front desks on their respective sides the the center aisle, v the republicans to the presiding officer’s left and also the democracy to the right. The more senior members of each party have actually priority in seat choice and normally sit toward the front and center that the chamber. Together a councilor speaks, an official reporter of arguments stands nearby, acquisition a verbatim account of everything said. Reporters job-related ten-minute move in the chamber and also then instantly transcribe their notes. Through the next morning, the whole day’s proceedings, together with related materials, are printed in the conference Record. In 1986 the began live radio and television coverage the its floor proceedings. The’s gavel-to-gavel proceedings are beamed by the non-profit Cable Satellite windy Affairs Network (C-SPAN) come a satellite orbiting high over the equator. These signals are returned to cable television systems throughout the continent for distribution to viewers. Videotapes of sessions are available to the general public at the nationwide Archives and also the Library that Congress. The usually begins the day v ten minute speeches through the bulk and decimal leaders or your designees, complied with by a period called “Morning Business.” throughout this time, senators introduce bills and resolutions, i beg your pardon are referred to the various committees because that consideration. Members may likewise request permission come speak summary on any subject that involves them. Following Morning Business, the may think about either executive, management or legislative business. Throughout an executive session, the may consider any kind of nomination or treaty that the president submits for the’s advice and consent. Nominations are evidenced by a an easy majority, but the Constitution calls for a two-thirds vote of the to give treaties. For lot of the’s history, every executive sessions were performed in secret, v the galleries cleared and also the doors locked, enabling senators to speak freely about the personality of nominees and also to stop causing any type of embarrassment to the nation’s contract partners. Not until 1929 were executive sessions routinely opened to the public and also the press. Legislative business consumes the largest share the the’s time. As soon as committees report out legislation, the bulk leader attempts come schedule it for controversy in the chamber. If both parties have actually agreed come the bill, it may be enacted just by “unanimous consent,” with only a quick reading the its title and also a inquiry by the leadership that that be embraced without objection, generally by voice vote. If a solitary member objects, however, the might not consider the bill at all, or may dispute it in ~ length and then take a roll speak to vote. The has actually long operated under the rule of “unlimited debate,” in which every members might speak because that as lengthy as they wish on the issue under consideration. To expedite business, the leadership may request unanimous consent to establish a time limit on debate for a details legislative measure. Extended controversy designed to defeat or amend a invoice by dilatory tactics is called a “filibuster.” Those senators protest to a filibuster may record a “cloture motion,” signed by at least sixteen senators, under which a vote of sixty senators deserve to limit the continuing to be debate. Once a bill is being debated, the floor supervisors of the 2 parties often take the front row, facility aisle, seat of the majority and minority leaders. If a time limit has been established, they allot parts of their time come senators wishing come speak because that or against the bill. The is not unexplained to find only a few members in the chamber at any kind of given time throughout the debate, with various other senators attending committee meetings or working in their offices. Members’ workplaces are equipped v “hot lines” and televisions that administer instant access to what is keep going on the floor. Once the bells signal a vote, senators pertained to the room to document their “yeas” and “nays.” at any time the is in session, the American flag flies above the chamber’s roof. When the legislative pack is specifically heavy, or as soon as a filibuster is underway, the may host sessions long into the night or about the clock. A lantern at the height of the Capitol dome is always lit throughout these night sessions.

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Whether at 2:00 in the morning or 2:00 in the afternoon, the public is always welcome come the galleries come witness this legislative proceedings.