Amelia Frappolli

That Time Congress Debated Prohibition and Used Beer Bottles as Props on the Floor
Way before the era of CSPAN-ready props, members brandished empty beer bottles

It’s undeniable that members of Congress love props. Aside from the run-of-the mill posters and charts, members have presented everything from cans of tuna to containers of laundry detergent pods on the floor. But the residents of the Capitol have had a flair for the dramatic since long before their antics showed up on TV.

A century ago, as states were in the midst of ratifying the 18th Amendment, Congress was fiercely divided into the prohibitionists, the “dries,” and their opponents, the “wets.” These legislative ancestors had a lot in common with the current inhabitants of the House — they were quick to refute negative press coverage and relished a good tale.

The Congressional War on Flowers: A Brief History
Undercover Capitol takes you inside the historic workplace — one video at a time 

When CQ editor Amelia Frappolli heard that flowers were banned on the House and Senate floors, she wondered if there was more to the story. It turns out, a tradition of sending lawmakers floral bouquets for their desks got so out of hand in the early 1900s that the practice was banned. Here’s what she found....
When Flowers Blossomed on the Congressional Floors and Why They Were Banned
Once a fixture in the chambers, the adornments are now so rare

“The proceedings were dull, but the flowers were bright and fragrant, and in profusion, and the air was full of the odor of roses, hyacinths, carnations, and geraniums.” No, this isn’t a description of a spring trudge around the Tidal Basin, but The New York Times’ description of the opening of a congressional session in the winter of 1893.

In modern times, the beginning of a session of Congress is marked by procedural votes and political grandstanding. And it was much the same at the turn of the 20th century, except with an infusion of scent and color.

4 Heated House Moments From 2016

Congress thrives on decorum and procedure, but occasionally, House members can get tense and sometimes even buck the rules – to get their point across. Here are 4 instances from this year when things got heated on the floor....
Omnibus Timeline Slips Past Monday
 

During opening remarks, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell discussed the Senate’s progress on the omnibus and tax extenders. “We’ll continue to consult and engage with colleagues as we make further progress on these last two significant items we must complete this year,” McConnell said.
 
Minority Leader Harry Reid said, “Everyone’s working hard toward a bipartisan compromise on the omnibus, and the so-called tax extenders legislation. Many of u...
Reid Blasts 'Racist' Scalia Remarks
 

“The only difference between the ideas endorsed by [Donald] Trump and Scalia, is that Scalia has a robe and a lifetime appointment,” Reid said....
McConnell Slams Obama’s Climate Plan as Paris Conference Begins
 

During his opening remarks Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell commented on the Clean Power Plan and the president’s current trip to Paris.