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Authorizing Printing of ''History of the United States Capitol''

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Location: Washington, DC


AUTHORIZING PRINTING OF "HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES CAPITOL" -- (House of Representatives - February 10, 2004)

Mr. MICA. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 358) authorizing the printing of "History of the United States Capitol" as a House document.

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Mr. LARSON of Connecticut. Mr. Speaker, I yield myself such time as I may consume.

Mr. Speaker, I wish to associate myself with the remarks of the distinguished gentleman from Florida.

As a sponsor of this resolution, I join our distinguished chairman, the gentleman from Ohio (Mr. Ney), and I am happy to help bring this publication to fruition. It has been a pleasure for me to work with the gentleman from Ohio (Chairman Ney) on this and other such collaborative matters as they regard the history of our great institution and the history of this Capitol.

The gentleman from Ohio will recall that we worked together in developing a history of the House, and his long-standing appreciation of the history of this great institution of ours and history in general go a long way towards keeping those relationships that accrue on our committee and throughout this institution at a level of deep understanding about the process and the procedure that goes on in this glorious building on a regular basis.

The gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) has outlined the importance of Glenn Brown's landmark two-volume History of the United States Capitol. Clearly, history should be updated from time to time, especially with the kind of annotated pictures that we can now provide for people, which yet unfolds the richness of this great institution and this marvelous building.

People that come to work here on a daily basis and those that visit the Capitol cannot help but be in awe of the marble and the alabaster of Statuary Hall and all the great symbolism and history represented here. So for us not to make sure that these publications continue to go forward and further enlighten and provide historical research and data about our institution would be a travesty.

Therefore, I am delighted to join with the gentleman from Florida (Mr. Mica) and again want to applaud the outstanding leadership of the gentleman from Ohio (Chairman Ney) and his willingness to collaborate on this specific publication, an interest that is both near and dear to both of our hearts with regard to historic preservation.

For more than two centuries, this Capitol has stood as a shrine to our democracy and a beacon to millions across the globe. We must preserve not only the bricks and mortar of this Capitol but also its history. The volume printed pursuant to this resolution will make a substantial contribution to that preservation. I urge an "aye" vote on this motion.
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As the sponsor of the resolution, I join the distinguished chairman in support of his motion, and I am happy to help bring this publication to fruition. It has been a pleasure to work with the chairman in the past 5 years on matters of common interest, especially related to congressional history. The gentleman may recall that shortly after he became the chairman of the House Administration Committee, I visited his Longworth office and discussed placing a greater emphasis on the history of this institution. We have had significant success in this respect, as the gentleman had while serving in his state's legislature in Columbus. I look forward to working with the chairman further on history-related matters in the months and years ahead.

Mr. Speaker, the American people revere this historic Capitol, the temple of our democracy, and they are rightly proud of what it has come to represent. In the more than 227 years since our Founding Fathers charted a new course for our civilization, this experiment in self-government has not only survived, but flourished. The ideals symbolized by this Capitol inspire millions around the world, giving hope that they and their descendants may someday enjoy the liberty that Americans cherish.

Over a century ago, Congress celebrated the Capitols' centennial by publishing Glenn Brown's landmark two-volume History of the United States Capitol. Brown's handsome volumes chronicled the development of the Capitol and its art collection to that time. Brown's work set a new standard for architectural history, affecting the development of the Capitol, and of the capital city, in the years that followed.

The Capitol has changed considerably in the last century, and present generation should take care to document those changes and preserve the history of this magnificent structure for the future. Plans for an updated, annotated edition of the Glenn Brown History began as the Capitol's 2000 bicentennial approach, and Congress authorized such a volume in 1993.

Today, only the final proofreading work remains, save for this renewed printing resolution, before the Government Printing Office can proceed to publish.

The new annotated volume will update the Glenn Brown work, correcting errors, adding new historical context and enhanced color photographs, among other improvements. The new edition, prepared by the Architect of the Capitol with the support of the U.S. Capitol Preservation Commission and the U.S. Capital Historical Society, will be published under the direction of the Joint Committee on Printing in consulting with the House Clerk and the Senate Secretary. The joint committee plans a single-volume format that is both economical and reader-friendly but, like the original, worthy of this splendid structure.

Mr. Speaker, I urge support for the motion. This body should ensure preservation of the Capitol's history, just as in 1999, with the gentleman from Ohio's strong support, the House passed my bill authorizing a written history of the House itself. That House history, being written by the distinguished historian Dr. Robert Remini, is well underway. As entertaining as he is learned, Professor Remini participated last November in the Cannon Centenary Conference on the modern speakership. Those fortunate to hear the professor's remarks left both enlightened and eager to read the completed work chronicling the House's role and contributions to America's history.

Mr. Speaker, for more than two centuries this Capitol has stood as a shrine to our democracy and a beacon to millions across the globe. We must preserve not only the bricks and mortar of this Capitol, but also its history. The volume printed pursuant to this resolution will make a substantial contribution to that preservation, and I urge an "aye" vote on the motion.

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Mr. Speaker, I yield back the balance of my time.

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