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Congress

The House Is Mostly Reopened After an Industrial Spill Temporarily Closed It

Lawmakers and legislative aides had been instructed to stay away.

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(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Most of the House side of the U.S. Capitol has been reopened, after being shut down early Thursday morning because of an industrial spill.

However, the East Grand Staircase on the House side from floors 1 through 3 and room H-324 will remain closed until further notice. Speaker John Boehner announced that the House will not convene as scheduled at 10 a.m. for opening activities. But it is expected to convene at noon.

 

Officials say this is still supposed to happen in the House chamberalthough there had been some early discussions about pursuing a meeting in an alternate location.

There was no word on what the spilled substance was.

But a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol said a potential release occurred about 2:30 a.m. during asbestos abatement work on the fourth floor. Samples were collected.

 

The closure had kept legislative staffers, lawmakers, reporters, and others who normally work on the House side of the building away until about 9 a.m. Rep. Luis Gutiérrez, D-Ill., was scheduled to speak on the House floor about "unaccompanied children fleeing violence in Central America apprehended at the U.S. border" and about President Obama's budget request.

Tours of the Capitol have resumed.

This story has been updated.

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