Dole Advocates for Televised Proceedings of Congress
June 01,1986


On June 1, 1986, daily Senate proceedings were televised for the first time. Senate leaders had been hesitant to allow televised coverage of floor proceedings. They felt that the methods and proceedings of the Senate did not naturally lend themselves to broadcast and some Senators feared that televising the proceedings might lead to posturing and grandstanding. By 1985, the House had been televising floor proceedings for several years and although some Senators still had hesitations, many worried that they were quickly becoming the forgotten arm of the legislative branch. Majority Leader Dole worked with Democratic Leader Robert Byrd to craft an agreement that created a trial three month period of televised coverage, and worked with the Rules Committee to simplify some Senate proceedings. The results were so welcoming that before the trial period was over the Senate had already voted to make televised coverage a permanent fixture, creating a lasting legacy of openness and transparency in Congress that we still enjoy today.