The Senate is the heart of the federal government, and its power and influence are immense.
The chamber, which sits in the heartland of the US, is home to a growing number of US senators who have served their states and districts for decades.
And it hosts a variety of committees, such as the Committee on Foreign Relations, which helps Congress understand the foreign policy challenges facing the United States and is the primary forum for debate and action.
There are even bipartisan panels, like the Energy and Commerce Committee, which is charged with examining energy and environmental issues and ensuring America’s long-term economic growth.
The US Senate, however, has been a much more difficult place to conduct business.
For the last 50 years, the chamber has been controlled by Democrats and is largely controlled by Republicans.
And this year, that may change.
The Senate could change the way it operates as well.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, has made it a goal to turn the chamber into an open forum for bipartisan dialogue and discussion on key issues.
In the past, he has sought to keep its Senate chamber more open by allowing members to bring more members and staff into the chamber to serve as witnesses, as well as allowing the chamber’s committees to host public hearings and even debate the issues at hand.
But that approach has often left the chamber in the dark about key policy questions.
The result has been that the chamber hasn’t had a unified voice on key policy issues that could help guide the rest of Congress.
It has been one of the most partisan chambers in the country, and this year has made the task even more challenging.
But McConnell and his allies hope that they can change that.
This article originally appeared on NBCNews.com.