Tuesday's earthquake disrupted a lot of business in Washington, D.C., including the legislative business of the U.S. Senate.
After the quake forced an evacuation of the Capitol, the Senate convened its scheduled pro forma session -- a perfunctory opening of official business, with no real legislative agenda, usually lasting a few minutes -- in the nearby Postal Square Building. As The Hill's Alexander Bolton points out, Republicans have demanded periodic pro forma sessions during August recess, in order to blog President Obama from making recess appointments.
In the video above, you can see freshman Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.) gavel the Senate session open and closed in a basement room.
Tuesday marked the first time in modern history that the Senate held a session outside the Capitol for regular business, Huffington Post's Amanda Terkel reports:
"This is the first time since 1814, that we know of, that the Senate has met outside the chamber for a non-ceremonial session," said Katherine Scott, an assistant historian for the upper chamber.
On Aug. 24, 1814, invading British troops had burned down the Capitol's Senate wing and "reduced all but one of Washington's major public buildings to smoking rubble."
On Sept. 19, 1814, President James Madison arranged for Congress to instead meet at Blodgett's Hotel on 8th and E Streets, N.W. -- one of the few buildings left standing.
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