House History Timeline, 2000–Present

2000

June 20

Congressional leaders ceremonially broke ground on the Capitol Visitor Center. The center was designed to better educate the public on the legislative branch and the people behind it.

2002

September 6

The House participated in a ceremonial Joint Session of Congress in Federal Hall in New York City. The session was held in remembrance of the victims and events of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

2005

January 4

In response to the 2001 terrorist attacks, the House created a new permanent standing committee, the Committee on Homeland Security. The standing committee replaced the Select Committee on Homeland Security.

September 22

Congress formally unveiled a statue of Po’Pay, a Pueblo religious leader, from the State of New Mexico. The event marked the first time each state was represented by two statues in the National Statuary Hall Collection.

October 30–31

Rosa Parks, an African-American seamstress whose act of civil disobedience in 1955 galvanized the U.S. civil rights movement, became the first woman and the second black American to lie in honor in the Rotunda of the U.S. Capitol.

2007

January 4

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California was elected as the first woman Speaker of the House.

2009

April 28

Congress unveiled a bust of Sojourner Truth, abolitionist and women’s suffrage leader. The sculpture was the first new piece of artwork unveiled and installed in the Capitol Visitor Center.

June 3

Congress formally unveiled a statue of President Ronald Reagan. Nicknamed “The Great Communicator,” Reagan had an engaging manner and confidence in American ideas that made him a popular two-term president.

July 28

The House of Representatives unveiled the portrait commemorating Dennis Hastert’s service as Speaker of the House. The portrait includes the Mace, and the House’s silver inkstand. These historical objects are always present in the Chamber when the House is in session, and are symbolic of the authority of the institution. Depicted standing at the rostrum, with gavel in hand, Hastert’s is the only Speaker portrait set in the House Chamber.

October 7

Congress unveiled the statue of Helen Keller. Keller was one of the great reformers of the 20th century, championing many humanitarian causes. Blind and deaf from childhood, she took her first steps in a brilliant career at a water pump, when she recognized the symbol for “water.”