I visited Washington DC 13 years ago I wanted to go to the House/Senate gallery. I did some research at the time, I can't remember what website I got the information but It said that foreigners who go to Capitol hill with a passport were able to get a House/ Senate pass depending on the side of the grounds that you entered. I recall that I went to what turned out to be the Senate side and got a Senate pass which allowed you to be on the Senate side of the grounds and gallery. I really wanted to go to the House side with the hope to go to the House gallery but that line was very long. In the end I saw a few committees that were holding open hearings and was lucky enough to be able to go the Senate gallery.
My question is has anything changed re the process? and or example if you go in the late afternoon or early evening, im guessing the lines will be a bit shorter but is this allowed or do the House/Senate galleries closed at a particular time to the public even if they are still in session? ( I realise obviously that if the House/Senate is not in session that you can't go to the gallery).
Also when I was at the Captol in 2005 water bottles were not allowed, does anyone know if is still the case?
Thanks a lot