Two bronze fasces–symbols of power since the times of the ancient Romans–hang behind the rostrum. In the Chamber, the fasces are symbols of the authority of the U.S. House of Representatives as part of the Congress.
The U.S. Flag has traditionally been located behind the Speaker’s chair on the rostrum. The flag is furnished by the Clerk of the House.
Representatives introduce bills by placing them in the bill hopper attached to the side of the clerk’s desk. Bills are retrieved from the hopper and referred to committees with the appropriate jurisdiction.
The Lafayette portrait was a gift from Dutch artist Ary Scheffer. Lafayette, a hero of the American Revolution and the first foreign dignitary to address Congress, was a close friend of George Washington’s.
From these tables, Representatives from each party, called floor managers, control the flow of debate on bills before the House.
These lecterns are used by Members addressing the House. Traditionally Members from the Democratic Party speak from the lectern on the left and Members from the Republican Party speak from the lectern on the right.
The mace, a symbol of power in ancient Rome, is used by the House Sergeant at Arms to bring the Chamber to order and to end arguments. This mace, with its silver American bald eagle, dates to 1841. The original House mace was destroyed when the British burned the Capitol in 1814.
The Speaker of the House presides from atop the rostrum. Lower tiers of the rostrum provide space for staff floor operations staff. This wood-paneled rostrum replaced the original, marble structure during renovations in the middle of the twentieth century.
The coin silver inkstand, the oldest surviving relic of the U.S. House of Representatives, is placed on the Speaker’s lectern before the Speaker calls each session of the House to order.
Member votes are displayed on these panels above the Press Gallery in the Chamber. When Members are not voting, the panels look like ornate tapestry.
Members vote using the electronic voting machine, introduced in 1973, by placing their voting cards in the slot and selecting yeah, nay, or present.
America’s most beloved hero is memorialized throughout the Capitol. The House commissioned John Vanderlyn to paint Washington’s likeness just for the Chamber.
Members speak from the lecterns in this area, right in front of the Speaker’s rostrum. Official reporters transcribe House proceedings for the Congressional Record from the table between the lecterns.