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Backdrop to Action: The Capitol Building in 2011 -- PICTURES Backdrop to Action: The Capitol Building in 2011 -- PICTURES

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Homepage / year in review

Backdrop to Action: The Capitol Building in 2011 -- PICTURES

December 22, 2011

Throughout a year of big funding, lobbying, and political battles—including some that lasted into the final weeks of the year—Washington has felt downright chaotic at times. Yet, the stately building where much of the action takes place serves as a calming, majestic backdrop to it all. As the country winds down for the holidays, National Journal reflects on our favorite photos of the U.S. Capitol—an anchor to the past and the place where much of this year's action took place.

The sun rises behind the statue of Freedom, which sits atop the Capitol dome, in this Sept. 15 photo.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The U.S. Capitol Christmas tree shortly after being lit by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Dec. 6.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Trees on the Capitol grounds ready to shed their colorful leaves in this Nov. 7 photo.(Chet Susslin)


Occupy D.C. protesters set up camp at Freedom Plaza with the Capitol in the background, on Oct. 6.(Chet Susslin)

Congressional interns, from left, Madelin Wadd and Will von Schleggell of Republican Rep. Greg Walden's office, and Speros Mantas of GOP Rep. Ed Royce's office, sit on the Capitol steps in the summer waiting for a group tour.(Julia Edwards)

Spring on Capitol HIll.(Chet Susslin)


In this Jan. 10 photo, members of Congress and their staffers observe a moment of silence for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., after she was shot at a campaign event.(Chet Susslin)

The Capitol building on the night of the 2011 State of the Union.(Theresa Poulson)

Lights were on late as Congress worked to avert a government shutdown in April.(ALEX BRANDON/AP, FILE)


The Capitol is seen through the rain on a car window the morning after Hurricane Irene moved up the East Coast in August.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

The Capitol Rotunda iin February.(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

The Peace Monument, also known as the Naval Monument or the Civil War Sailors Monument, on the grounds of the Capitol on Nov. 19.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)


A peaceful calm at the Capitol reflecting pool before a July rain storm.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Flags fly at half-staff at the foot of the Washington Monument with the Capitol in the background on Jan. 9 after Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot at a campaign event.(AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

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