Tuesday, March 19, 2019, marked forty years since the first broadcast of a session of the United States House of Representatives went live on C-SPAN in 1979. Seven years later, Senate Minority Leader Robert Byrd introduced legislation to allow for the broadcast of sessions of the Senate on C-SPAN. Prior to the approval of this measure, television cameras had only been allowed on the floor of the Senate once for the swearing in of Vice President Nelson Rockefeller on December 19, 1974. On June 2, 1986, Senator Robert C. Byrd stood at his desk and delivered a speech as the cameras rolled for the first broadcast of the Senate in session.
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