Secretary of the Senate

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The Secretary of the Senate is responsible for many administrative tasks associated with the day-to-day operations of the U.S. Senate. [1] The current secretary is Emily Reynolds.


Legislative functions

The Secretary of the Senate performs several legislative functions. At the beginning of each day’s session, the secretary regularly accompanies the chaplain into the Senate chamber. Each bill that is passed is examined and signed by the secretary. In certain parliamentary circumstances, the secretary may also preside over the Senate (this last occurred in 1947). For many years, the secretary has also supervised the Senate’s reporters of debates and preparation of the Daily Digest. Among other Senate floor staff who report to the secretary are the parliamentarian, bill clerk, legislative clerk, and enrolling clerk. [2]

Legislative Offices under the Secretary of the Senate


The Parliamentarian advises the presiding officer, senators and their staffs, committee staffs, representatives and their staffs, administration officials, the media, and members of the general public on all matters requiring an interpretation of the Standing Rules of the Senate, the precedents of the Senate, unanimous consent agreements, and provisions of public law affecting the proceedings of the Senate. In the name of the presiding officer, the parliamentarian refers to the appropriate Senate committees all legislation, messages, communications, reports from the executive branch, and petitions and memorials from state legislatures and private citizens. [3]

Bill clerk

The Bill Clerk records actions of the Senate, keeps an authoritative historical record of Senate business, enters daily legislative activities and votes into the automated legislative status system (LEGIS), and assigns numbers to all bills and resolutions. [4]

Legislative clerk

The Legislative Clerk reads aloud bills, resolutions, conference reports, amendments, and other material when directed by the presiding officer, calls the roll for quorums and recorded (yea and nay) votes, and prepares the Calendar of Business for each daily session of the Senate. In addition, the legislative clerk maintains official copies of measures pending before the Senate and receives all proposed and agreed-upon amendments. [5]

Journal clerk

The Journal Clerk records the minutes of the daily legislative proceedings of the Senate and prepares them for publication in the Senate Journal, as required by Article I, section 5 of the Constitution. The journal clerk also prepares a history of bills and resolutions for inclusion in the printed Journal. [6]

The executive clerk

The Executive Clerk prepares an accurate record of actions taken by the Senate during executive sessions (proceedings on nominations and treaties) which is published as the Executive Journal at the end of each session of Congress. The executive clerk also prepares the Executive Calendar, which is printed daily when any nominations, treaties, or resolutions pertaining to executive business are pending before the Senate. The executive clerk also prepares all nomination and treaty advice and consent resolutions for transmittal to the president. [7]

Enrolling clerk

The Enrolling Clerk proofreads and prepares for printing all Senate-passed legislation prior to its transmittal to the House of Representatives, the National Archives, the secretary of state, the United States Claims Court, and the White House. The enrolling clerk physically transmits all Senate messages to the House of Representatives and arranges for delivery of all enrolled bills and resolutions to the White House. [8]

Official reporters of debates

The Official Reporters of Debates prepare and edit for publication in the Congressional Record a substantially verbatim report of the proceedings of the Senate and serve as liaison for all Senate personnel on matters relating to the content of the Record. [9]

Daily Digest section of the Congressional Record

The Daily Digest section of the Congressional Record provides a concise accounting of all official actions taken by the Senate on a particular day. All Senate hearings and business meetings (including joint meetings and conferences) are scheduled through the Daily Digest, published in the Congressional Record and on the Senate Web site, and entered into the automated legislative status system (LEGIS) hearings file. Meeting outcomes are also published by the Daily Digest in the Record each day. [10]

Captioning Services Office

The Captioning Services Office provides real-time closed captioning of Senate floor proceedings for the deaf and hearing-impaired community. Real-time captioning is the live electronic subtitling of the audio portion of a television program. [11]

Administrative Functions

The secretary is responsible for the Senate Stationery Room, a multimillion-dollar retail operation that keeps senators' offices supplied. In recognition of the immediate and historical significance of Senate bills, resolutions, hearings, and reports, the secretary oversees the Office of Printing and Document Services, the Office of Senate Security (which maintains classified documents), the Senate Library, the Office of Senate Curator, and the Senate Historical Office. The secretary also maintains the Office of Inter-parliamentary Services to provide support for those inter-parliamentary conferences in which the Senate participates and to assist senators in international travel. Also under the secretary's direction, the Office of Public Records collects and makes publicly available documents relating to campaign finance, financial ethics, foreign travel, and lobbying. [12]

Administrative Offices Under the Secretary of the Senate

Disbursing Office

The disbursing office compiles Senate budget estimates for presentation to the Committee on Appropriations, maintains and disburses all Senate appropriated funds and all Senate payrolls, interprets and carries out all matters related to budgeting, appropriations, compensation, payroll deductions, retirement, life and health insurance, and other employee benefits authorized for senators and staff. [13]

Printing and Document Services Office

The printing and document services office serves as liaison to the Government Printing Office for the Senate's official printing. The office assists the Senate by coordination, scheduling, delivery, and preparation of Senate legislation, hearings, documents, committee prints, and miscellaneous publications and provides printed copies of all legislation and public laws to the Senate and the public. In addition, the office assigns publication numbers to all hearings, committee prints, documents, and miscellaneous publications; orders all blank paper, envelopes and letterhead for the Senate; and prepares page counts of all Senate hearings in order to compensate commercial reporting companies for the preparation of hearings. [14]

Stationery Room

The Stationery Room is a nonprofit merchandising outlet that acts as purchasing agent for stationery supplies and maintains adequate inventories to meet Senate office needs. [15]

Senate Gift Shop

The Senate Gift Shop offers members, staff, and the general public the opportunity to purchase Senate memorabilia and gift items. [16]

Interparliamentary Services Office

The Interparliamentary Services Office is responsible for administrative, financial, and protocol functions for all interparliamentary conferences in which the Senate participates and for special delegations authorized by the leadership. The office also provides appropriate assistance to other Senate delegations to foreign countries. [17]

Senate Security Office

The Senate Security Office is responsible for the administration of classified national security information and personnel, communications, and computer security programs to protect classified information in Senate offices and committees. It serves as the Senate's liaison to the executive branch in matters relating to classified national security information. [18]

The Public Records Office

The Public Records Office receives, processes, and maintains for public inspection records, reports, and other documents filed with the secretary involving the Federal Election Campaign Act, the Ethics in Government Act, the Lobbying Disclosure Act, the Mutual Security Act, and the Senate Code of Official Conduct. As provided by various Senate rules, it also handles public financial disclosure, reimbursed travel reports, registration of mass mailings, political fund designations, and supervisors' reports on individuals performing Senate services. The office reviews the filings of and provides guidance to registrants under the Lobbying Disclosure Act. [19]

Chief Counsel for Employment

The Chief Counsel for Employment provides legal advice to, and represents, Senate offices in employment law matters and lawsuits under the Congressional Accountability Act, which brings the Senate under eleven federal laws regulating the employer-employee relationship. [20]

Senate Library

The Senate Library is a legislative and general reference library that provides both traditional and computerized information services and maintains a comprehensive collection of congressional, governmental, and other publications for the use of Senate offices and the media. [21]

The Conservation and Preservation Office

The Conservation and Preservation Office develops and coordinates programs directly related to the preservation of Senate records and materials for which the secretary of the Senate has statutory authority. Initiatives include mass deacidification, conservation of books and documents, collection surveys, and contingency planning for disaster response and recovery. [22]

Senate Corridor

The Senate Curator, under the direction of the Senate Commission on Art, administers the museum programs of the Senate for the Capitol and Senate office buildings. The curator and staff suggest acquisitions, design and present exhibits, and produce publications. The office studies, identifies, arranges, protects, preserves, and records the historical paintings, sculpture, and furnishings in the Senate Collection. The office also exercises supervisory responsibility for those chambers in the Capitol under the jurisdiction of the Senate Commission on Art. [23]

Senate Historical Office

The Senate Historical Office collects and provides information on important events, dates, statistics, precedents, and historical comparisons of current and past activities of the Senate for use by senators, staff, the media, scholars, and the public. The office advises Senators and committees on the cost-effective disposition of their noncurrent office files, assists researchers seeking access to Senate records, and conducts a program of oral history interviews with retired senior Senate staff. The office maintains extensive collections of photographs and biographical files on all former members. [24]

Senate Page School

The Senate Page School serves all appointed Senate pages. It exists to provide a smooth transition from and to the students' home schools, providing students with a sound program, both academically and experientially during their service to the Senate. [25]

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