A trio of House Republicans told a special hearing of the House Committee on Administration Friday that it is past time to reopen the U.S. Capitol to the public and to depoliticize the rule-making process that has kept it closed for nearly two years.
“When this virus first came to our shores, through no fault of our own, in the spring of 2020, small businesses, schools, and offices were forced to shut down,” Rep. Pete Stauber (R-Minn.) told the Member Day Hearing of the administration panel’s subcommittee on elections.
Stauber was referring to the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus that is also known as the Novel Coronavirus. Rep. G.K. Butterfield (D-N.C.) is chairman of the subcommittee.
“Similarly, the United States Capitol Building, the halls of Congress, and our office buildings were also closed to the public and have remained this way for over 21 months. Now, through the ingenuity and perseverance of the American people, we have adapted and found ways to reopen, while ensuring we are keeping our families and neighbors safe,” Stauber continued.
“However, one place that remains closed to the American people is the House of Representatives, the People’s House. This is unacceptable,” he said.
The Minnesota Republican told the committee that “just five blocks away” from the Capitol, the Capitol One Arena opens nightly to crowds of thousands of fans of the Washington Capitals National Hockey League (NHL) and the Washington Wizards National Basketball Association (NBA) teams.
“Even more absurd, over on the Senate side, restrictions are much softer and indoor Halloween events were even held,” Stauber lamented. “Now there are reports that Senate Offices will be allowed to restart tours of the Capitol while House offices are not even allowed to welcome larger groups of our constituents up to our offices.”
In response to the CCP virus pandemic in April 2020, congressional officials led by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) imposed rigorous social distancing, mask-wearing requirements, and mandatory quarantining by Members of the House, their staff, and Capitol operations employees.