|What's the Deal With Gallery Passes?|
Passes to sit in the House and Senate galleries are also available from your Congressman and Senators. These passes allow you to observe the debates in Congress. You will need separate passes for the House and Senate, but usually your Congressman and Senators will have both available. Children must be six years of age or older to be admitted to the Senate gallery, but in the House children under 10 are allowed when accompanied by an adult. Hours are usually 9 am to 4:30 pm for both galleries, although they may open earlier depending on when the House and Senate are in session. Check the front section of The Washington Post for times when the House and Senate are in session and the topics of debate for the day. No photography is allowed in the House and Senate chambers, and a secure place to check your camera and other items is offered at the galleries.
Tip: In the busy summer months, or during an especially exciting or contentious debate, lines to get into the galleries can be long-ask your Congressman or Senators' offices to have a staff member walk you over to the gallery. He or she can bypass the line, seat you in the reserved staff area, and can often give some insight on what is going on in the chamber.
Nylon and cotton American flags in a variety of sizes are available from your Representative's and Senators' offices. Please check with their offices for the latest flag prices; there is also a charge for postage. If you want the flag flown over the Capitol, there is an additional, mandatory $8 fee (2017) to recover the costs of flying the flag over the Capitol and providing the certificate that comes with it (a result of cuts in the 1996 Legislative Branch Appropriations Act). You can have the flag flown "in honor of" or "in memory of," and you can request a specific date. If the flag is to be flown over the Capitol, place your request no less than two weeks or more than two months in advance of the date you wish to have the flag flown. Payment must be made by check or money order; cash and credit cards are not accepted. Please allow 4 to 6 weeks for delivery.
For more information and links about the American Flag, see our expanded "How do I get an American flag that has flown over the U.S. Capitol?"
Your Congressman or Senator can also request a greeting from the President on your behalf. There are certain rules, however. Presidential Greetings can be requested for:
- Birthday - 80 years or more
- Wedding anniversary - 50 years or more
- Birth of baby - addressed to the parents
- Condolence - addressed to immediate family member
- Eagle Scout/Girl Scout Gold award
- Graduation - high school or college; individual or class
Requests should be made to your Congressman or Senator at least four weeks before the date the greeting is needed.
Pages are young people who are hired to serve as helpers for the U.S. House of Representatives. They are students in their junior year of high school who come to Washington D.C. to live, work, and study as Pages. This Program, which includes the House Page Residence Hall, the House Page School, and the work responsibilities, is administered by the Office of the Clerk, pursuant to direction from the Majority and Minority leadership and the U.S. House of Representatives Page Board. The practice of having Pages dates back over 200 years.
While there are over 400 Members of Congress wishing to recommend a young person for a Page position, there are only about 66 Page positions available. This narrows opportunity considerably. All students must be sponsored by a Member of Congress to become a Page. Thus, the first step is to ask a Member of Congress for sponsorship. That Member will then have to contact the proper hiring authority to start the application process. Not every Member can sponsor a Page every time.
Page eligibility is limited to juniors in high school only. All applicants must be at least sixteen years old on the date they begin their Page term. No exceptions.
Source: former Rep. Bernie Sanders web site
- "Guide for Congressional Pages," Hobnob Blog, July 7, 2008
- "T-shirt: Congressional Totem Pole (as Drawn by a Former House Page)," Hobnob Blog, July 3, 2008
- "The Children Who Ran for Congress: A History of Congressional Pages," by Darryl Gonzalez (Praeger 2010)
- "The Manolo he recommends the shoes for Congressional pages," Hobnob Blog, June 30, 2008
- § 5.113, Congressional Pages, in the Congressional Deskbook, by Michael Koempel and Judy Schneider
- Capitol Page Alumni Association
- "Adventure in Washington," starring Herbert Marshall, Virginia Bruce, and Gene Reynolds (Columbia Pictures, 1941)
Also see these
- Museums, memorial and monuments - a list of the memorials in DC including the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and the FDR Memorial
- Visiting Washington, DCTheCapitol.Net is a non-partisan firm, and the opinions of its faculty, clients, and of the owners and operators of its vendors are their own and do not represent those of TheCapitol.Net.
Quick DC Links - Washington Essentials
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