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-   -   How early to arrive to attend Senate/House hearings? (https://www.fodors.com/community/united-states/how-early-to-arrive-to-attend-senate-house-hearings-1674381/)

leslieq Nov 23rd, 2019 05:00 PM

How early to arrive to attend Senate/House hearings?
 
We will be in Washington the week of December 9 and have passes to both the Senate Gallery and House Visitors Gallery. As I understand it, getting into the hearings is first come first served.

Realistically, how early should we arrive if we hope to attend any of the hearings? We're coming from California and getting in is super important, one of the main reasons we are going in December!Thanks for any information you can give us.

Jean Nov 24th, 2019 08:51 AM

Since this is such a rare event in U.S. history, I'm not sure anyone here could give you advice. You might call the D.C. office of your local representative or the D.C. office of either Feinstein or Harris and ask if they have any idea.

kja Nov 24th, 2019 10:55 AM

It really depends on the hearing and the room. Some hearings still have seats at the start; other hearings are filled to the gills within minutes of the time the doors open, with lines forming hours in advance. For a more or less "routine" hearing, arriving a half hour or hour in advance is probably sufficient. Jean's advice to ask your representative is reasonable. (By "rare event," I suspect Jean is referring to hearings related to the impeachment inquiry, but there are many, many routine hearings throughout the year, and those are the ones to which I'm referring.)

Gretchen Nov 25th, 2019 03:38 AM

These passes are for the galleries, not the hearing rooms. There is jolly little going on but I think usually there's some one or other on the floor of these talking to an empty chamber about this or that.
If there is a vote then there may be something to see from the galleries. I think they need to find out if there are votes scheduled on anything and go at that time allowing a LOT of time for clearance of security.
Ask the office of the person you got the passes from what the protocol is.

Christina Nov 25th, 2019 12:22 PM

As Gretchen said, you don't have passes to the hearings. If the Senate is in session that day, they may be voting on stuff like some bill to rename a post office, a few days ago they were voting on the ambassador to Romania, appointments of some circuit court judge, various minor amendments and Billsyou've never heard of, stuff like that. If you are a political junkie, it can be fun just to see some people you may have heard of or follow. I remember I was in the Senate Gallery and saw Ted Kennedy speak one day, it was the day Pres Reagan was shot and he announced that and they adjourned for the day. So it's just interesting to see the process for political science groupies.
On Monday Dec 2nd, they are schedule to vote on a new Secretary of Energy

The House is scheduled to vote on Tue-Friday of the first week in Dec, but not on Monday and even Tuesday, it's scheduled very late in the day. But the Republicans calendar says they aren't doing much of anything that week in the gallery.

This is an example of what the House did in last Friday's session on the House floor, it took 3 minutes:

<<1:30:07 P.M.The House convened, starting a new legislative day.
1:30:10 P.M.The Speaker designated the Honorable Anthony G. Brown to act as Speaker pro tempore for today.
1:30:16 P.M.Today's prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Dan C. Cummins, Capitol Worship, Washington, DC
1:31:23 P.M.SPEAKER'S APPROVAL OF THE JOURNAL - Pursuant to section 2(a) of H. Res. 713, the Journal of the last day's proceedings was approved.
1:32:16 P.M.PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE - The Chair led the House in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag.
1:33:24 P.M.The Speaker announced that the House do now adjourn pursuant to section 2(b) of H. Res. 713. The next meeting is scheduled for 2:00 p.m. on November 26, 2019.>>

I haven't been there in a long time and don't think I planned any particular time because you never know that much what is going on and when and the majority of what they do is not that interesting, to be honest, so all of those type of routine votes aren't going to gather crowds.

If you really mean the hearings, that's a different story. I think they are in the Longworth Building and the public can attend. I'm not up on the latest, but as far as I know, those public hearings have finished and there aren't any more witnesses scheduled for December, although I suppose that could change.

kja Nov 25th, 2019 06:07 PM


Originally Posted by Christina (Post 17021391)
f you really mean the hearings, that's a different story. I think they are in the Longworth Building and the public can attend. I'm not up on the latest, but as far as I know, those public hearings have finished and there aren't any more witnesses scheduled for December, although I suppose that could change.

Routine hearings are held in any number of House or Senate buildings. Schedules are normally posted on committee or subcommittee web pages, with varying degrees of advance notice.


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