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

Lawmakers and legislative aides had been instructed to stay away.

Part of the dome of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, seen October 23, 2013. 
National Journal
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Billy House
July 10, 2014, 4:44 a.m.

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 cham­ber — al­though 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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