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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies: History, Membership, and Inaugural Activities

Jacob R. Straus
Analyst on the Congress

Every four years, at noon on January 20, the President-elect is sworn in as President of the United States. The year before the inauguration, Congress establishes the Joint Congressional Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies. The Joint Inaugural Committee is responsible for the planning and execution of the swearing-in ceremony and hosting an inaugural luncheon for the President and Vice President at the U.S. Capitol. Pursuant to S.Con.Res. 35 and S.Con.Res. 36 in the 112th Congress(2011-2012), and S.Con.Res. 2 in the 113th Congress (2013-2014) the 2013 inaugural ceremony will be held at the U.S. Capitol, with the swearing-in ceremony on the West Front Steps and special events held in the Rotunda, Emancipation Hall of the Capitol Visitor Center, and National Statuary Hall.

The tradition of authorizing a Joint Inaugural Committee dates to 1901 for the inauguration of President William McKinley. At that time, the House and Senate authorized that inaugural expenses be paid by the Clerk of the House of Representatives and the Secretary of the Senate and created a committee of three Representatives and three Senators appointed by the President pro tempore of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. Since 1901, the Joint Inaugural Committee has been authorized quadrennially.

On March 5, 2012, Congress authorized the Joint Inaugural Committee for the 2013 Inauguration. Representing the Senate on the 2013 Joint Inaugural Committee are Senator Charles Schumer, chair of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration; Senator Harry Reid, Senate majority leader; and Senator Lamar Alexander, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration. Representing the House of Representatives are Speaker of the House John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

This report provides historical information on the Joint Inaugural Committee, including the committee’s origin, membership, leadership, staffing, and inaugural activities.

Date of Report: January 4, 2012
Number of Pages: 27
Order Number: R42603
Price: $29.95

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