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In Germany it is possible to visit the Bundestag, the German "parliament", and watch a plenary sitting from the public gallery of the plenary chamber after an online registration.

This image shows the public gallery (Besuchertrib√ľne) over and behind the seats of the parliament members on the ground floor:

German legislative chamber

Is it possible for US citizens to watch debates in the US Senate or House of Representatives?

Are there other countries where this is possible?

  • A lot of the real work goes on in committee, which aren't as open as the chambers themselves. There's also various CSPAN channels, which usually have live streaming coverage from each chamber. – Bobson May 22 '14 at 21:32
  • @Bobson I think committee hearings are often open to the public, but yes I don't think committees allow audiences for bill markup. – Keshav Srinivasan May 23 '14 at 0:20
  • Just commenting on how great that german parliament room is! – user1530 May 23 '14 at 16:18
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Yes, there are viewing galleries in both the House of Representatives and the Senate chamber:

www.visitthecapitol.gov/plan-visit

www.senate.gov/visiting/common/generic/new/watching_congress.htm

The viewing galleries are open to visitors whenever the respective houses are in session (except for closed sessions when national security secrets are discussed), and they're open a lot of the time even when they're in recess. But you need to first obtain a gallery pass from the office of your local representative or senator, depending on which house you want to visit. And you don't need to be a US citizen, by the way. Foreigners have their own way of getting passes.

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