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Inaugurating a President
Part I: About presidential inaugurations
More of this Feature
2: S. Con. Res. 89
3: S. Con. Res. 90
4: S. Con. Res. 148

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After over two years of campaigning, primaries, counting and recounting votes, flying chad, and oh-so many lawyers, the closest presidential election in America's history all ends with two simple words spoken in response to a simple, yet elegant oath.

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." -- Article II, Section 1, clause 8 - U.S. Constitution

At Noon on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2001, Chief Justice William Rehnquist will swear George W. Bush in as the 43rd president of the United States during the main event of the 54th Presidential Inauguration. The discrepancy between presidents and inaugurals is due to the number of presidents who served multiple terms, thus getting the last dance at more than one inaugural ball.

Few events in Washington come off without bureaucracy, not even a presidential inauguration. Before the second generation of Team Bush can say "I do," at least two, and this year, three acts of Congress are required. This year, those acts were:

Senate Concurrent Resolution 89 - Establishment and Support of Joint Committee: Creates the authority for the joint House and Senate committee assigned to plan and budget for the inaugural ceremonies.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 90 - Use of Capitol Rotunda: Just in case the weather is bad, and the ceremony must be moved inside, a resolution authorizing the use of the Capitol Rotunda is required. When bad weather forced the 1985 inauguration inside, a last-minute resolution had to be passed. Ever since this resolution has been passed well in advance of January 20.

Senate Concurrent Resolution 148 - Providing for disposition and archiving of inaugural records, files and documents: This one is brand new for 2001. Introduced by Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), this resolution establishes a formal procedure for collection and storage of all documents related to the planning and budgeting of the presidential inaugural with the National Archives and Records Administration.

Since the first inauguration of President Reagan in 1981, the swearing-in ceremonies have been held on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol Building. The only exception was the 1985 swearing-in of President Reagan's second term, when cold weather forced the ceremony into the Capitol Rotunda.

This year's inaugural platform is constructed almost completely from recycled materials used in President Clinton's 1997 ceremony.

The first inauguration actually held in Washington, D.C. was the March 4, 1801 swearing-in of Thomas Jefferson. Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first president to be sworn in on the specific date of January 20 in 1937, a change brought about by the 20th Amendment to the Constitution.

President Harry S. Truman starred in the first televised inauguration ceremony in 1949, while the 1997 inauguration of President Clinton was the first to be broadcast live over the Internet.

Cost of the Inauguration
A total of $1 million was set aside by Congress to pay for this inauguration. The funds were allocated as part of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Bill of the Fiscal Year 2001 federal budget. The $1 million pays only for costs associated with the swearing-in ceremony. The parade and all of the galas and balls are coordinated and paid for by the Presidential Inaugural Committee. These events are funded mainly through ticket sales, contributions, and volunteered services and talent.

A complete list of Inaugural events and attendance information is available on this Presidential Inaugural Committee Web site.

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Next page > Senate Concurrent Resolution 89 > Page 1, 2, 3, 4

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