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Shaheen Introduces Bipartisan, Bicameral Legislation to Commemorate 250 Years of the Nation's Independence

(Washington, DC) – This week, U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) introduced the bipartisan, bicameral Semiquincentennial Congressional Time Capsule Act, which would authorize the Architect of the Capitol to create a time capsule as part of the nation’s planned Semiquincentennial celebration and have it buried on the west lawn of the Capitol, to remain sealed until July 4, 2276, the nation’s 500th Anniversary. Cosponsors of the Semiquincentennial Congressional Time Capsule Act are U.S. Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Bob Casey (D-PA) and Mike Rounds (R-SD).

“As we reflect on the democratic ideals our nation was built upon ahead of its 250th Anniversary celebration, it’s important we consider the impact our present-day actions have on shaping our American democracy and society in the future,” said Senator Shaheen. “I’m honored to help introduce this legislation, which will preserve the rich culture and ideas of this historical moment in the United States for generations to come.”

The contents of the time capsule will be determined by the offices of the Speaker of the House, the Office of the Minority Leader of the House, and the Offices of the Majority and Minority Leaders of the Senate. They will include items that represent important legislation or institutional milestones of Congress, a message from the Congress to the future Congress, and other items that reflect our history at the time of its burial in 2026.  

“History teaches us invaluable lessons. It’s our responsibility to learn from the people and events that came before us, and to preserve those accounts for future generations,” Senator Grassley said. “Burying a time capsule on the anniversary of the day the Founding Fathers adopted the Declaration of Independence would honor their mark on our nation and serve as a way to document the milestones still to come.”

“I am proud to celebrate the 250th Anniversary of our country’s founding by being a cosponsor of this resolution to establish a congressional time capsule to share with future generations,” said Senator Tillis. “This time capsule will be opened upon our nation’s 500th Anniversary, and I look forward to ensuring we provide future Americans with key insights into our enduring principles and values as Americans.”

“George Washington’s first wish was to see the whole world in peace, and the inhabitants of it as one band of brothers, striving who should contribute most to the happiness of mankind,” said Senator Rounds. “As we prepare for our nation’s 250th birthday celebration in 2026, that wish remains the same. The celebration of America’s semiquincentennial is a special time in our nation’s history, and I am pleased to join my colleagues in introducing this bipartisan legislation to symbolize important institutional milestones.”

“As we approach the 250th anniversary of our great democratic experiment, we have an obligation to honor our history while also looking towards the future. The Semiquincentennial Congressional Time Capsule Act helps to preserve this moment in history for future Americans to reflect on,” said Senator Casey. “As the birthplace of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia played an instrumental part in our Nation’s history, and I look forward to celebrating this historic occasion, especially Pennsylvania’s role in the founding of our Nation.”

“The 250th anniversary of our nation’s founding is a time of reflection and celebration. As we near this momentous milestone, I’m proud to join my America250 Congressional Caucus colleagues in cosponsoring the Semiquincentennial Congressional Time Capsule Act to enable the preservation of items and messages from our to the future Congress,”  said Senator Blumenthal.

A companion bill has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives by Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman (NJ-12). Cosponsors in the House include Maria Elvira Salazar (FL-27), Dwight Evans (PA-03), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Brendan Boyle (PA-02), Don Davis (NC-01), Josh Gottheimer (NJ-05), Tom Kean, Jr. (NJ-07), Mike Lawler (NY-17), Lisa McClain (MI-09), Troy Nehls (TX-22), Chris Pappas (NH-01), Jamie Raskin (MD-08), Glenn “GT” Thompson (PA-15), Dina Titus (NV-01), Paul Tonko (NY-20), Lori Trahan (MA-03) and Robert Wittman (VA-01).

Full bill text is available here.