Pennsylvania Avenue (

From the Congressional Glossary – Including Legislative and Budget Terms

Pennsylvania Avenue

Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, by Ben Schumin and AgnosticPreachersKid
Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC, by Ben Schumin and AgnosticPreachersKid

Pennsylvania Avenue (NW) is a street in Washington, DC, the nation’s capital city. The Capitol sits at the eastern end of Pennsylvania Avenue NW, and the White House is located a little more than a mile to the northwest of the Capitol, at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW.

The names of the four avenues in the capital city are centered on the Capitol are taken from the Mid-Atlantic states: Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey. Between Pennsylvania Avenue and Maryland Avenue is the National Mall, and between the Pennsylvania and Maryland border is the Mason-Dixon Line separating the old South from the Northern states.

Pennsylvania Avenue is definitely “inside the Beltway.”


The Nation’s Capital 1953


Occasionally, members of Congress refer to the president, executive agency actions, and the White House as “the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue“. Also occasionally, the president and members of the administration refer to Congress as “the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue”. (The phrase is almost always used pejoratively or to cast blame.) This is so even though Pennsylvania Avenue extends well into Maryland and outside the Beltway southeast of the Capitol, and northwest beyond the White House to 29th and M Streets NW. This dramatic shortening of a street that is more than 20 miles long is usually attributed to “Potomac fever.”

Also see: Capitol; K Street; Inside the Beltway; Visiting Washington, DC; § 8.22 White House Legislative Affairs Office, in Congressional Deskbook; § 8.51 How to Contact the White House and Agency Officials, Appendix 3, in Lobbying and Advocacy.


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