Running Out of Room
One of the reasons for constructing the Congressional Visitor Center underground is that there just isn’t space left around the Capitol. That’s partially due to legislative action in 1975.
That year, both the House and Senate sought to develop new work space around the Hill. The Senate already had approved an extension to the Dirksen Building. But groundbreaking for what would become the Hart Building had to be put off until 1976.
Meanwhile, with committee staff numbers growing, the House passed legislation to annex a vacated FBI building on Capitol Hill and turn it into office space (now the Ford Building). Many in the House also pushed for the chamber to take control of at least part of the Library of Congress’ nearly complete Madison Building.
Further expansion was put off as leaders developed a “master plan” for development. In fact, Congress is in the early stages of another master plan right now. [IMGCAP(1)]