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Tipsheet

Rep. Steil Wants to Know Why Pelosi Won't Open People's House, as Capitol Has Been Closed for Over 720 Days

AP Photo/Susan Walsh

The United States has been under a state of emergency for close to two years now, as declared by then President Donald Trump in response to the World Health Organization (WHO) declaring COVDI-19 a pandemic. Such a move ultimately led to lockdowns and closings across the country. And now, over 720 days later, parts of the U.S. Capitol, including the U.S. House of Representatives, remain closed to the public. 

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Rep. Bryan Steil (R-WI) spoke to Townhall about his plans to demand that Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) open the people's house, something she could unilaterally do, or else be forced to with his resolution. The Capitol was closed almost two years ago, with no end date in sight, unlike mandates with expiration dates. 

As Spencer reported on Monday, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution from Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) to re-open the Capitol and U.S. Senate buildings. Rep. Steil, along with House GOP leadership, is committed to doing the same. 

In his Thursday colloquy, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD) also went on to use the Capitol riot that occurred on January 6, 2021, as an excuse for keeping the Capitol closed off, after House Minority Whip Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) mentioned Steil's resolution. 

"But they clearly transitioned their reasoning, right? They started this closure 721 days ago, under COVID, and now they're changing their reasoning. There are ways that Capitol Police can appropriately secure the House chambers," Steil offered, going on to remind it's something "they've always done." 

He also suggested that "this is an excuse to reach a policy objective, which is to prevent people from coming and being able to freely speak with their member of Congress without hesitation, and if you ask me, the Democrats don't want to have to face the American public about their crazy spending that's driving up inflation, they don't want to tell the American people why they're not allowing their lives to get back to normal, they don't want to talk about crime, they don't want to talk about the open border." Steil continued with his suggestion that "they're using excuse after excuse to keep the Capitol closed."

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It's also worth noting that ahead of President Joe Biden's State of the Union address on Tuesday, the U.S. Capitol Police had also imposed fencing, out of fear of Freedom Convoy truckers making their way to D.C. 

Whatever the excuses, Steil explained that this is the longest the Capitol has been closed to the public. While the Senate is partially open for tours, the congressman explained, the House remains closed, with spring fast approaching when school groups normally arrive. Before Pelosi shut down the Capitol, people could simply arrive at the visitor's center for a tour. 

For context, Steil mentioned that in 2019, his office led 225 tours in the U.S. Capitol. According to the 2020 U.S. Census, his district, Wisconsin's First, is home to 727,452 people. 

This is not merely an issue for tour groups, in the People's House, where Steil said "people should have the right to go and speak to their member." It's even more so a problem for whistleblowers who may not wish to register and present their ID in order to come to provide what information they have to members. 

Sen. Hagerty's resolution is not the only positive change to come out of the Senate this week. Normally, the body is evenly divided, with Democrats only having a majority in the 50-50 Senate because Vice President Kamala Harris serves as a tie-breaking vote. This week, however, Republicans have taken advantage of having more members due to absences from Democrats, and have passed resolutions such as ending the Biden administration's vaccine mandate and demanding an end to the state of emergency.

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Such resolutions came just as Biden gave his State of the Union address, during which he claimed "thanks to the progress we have made this past year, COVID-19 need no longer control our lives," as Steil reminded, and said, despite Biden making such claims in the House chamber, "is not the reality in the People's House."

Last Friday, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also announced updated guidelines, which now means that 70 percent of the country lives in counties where they are at "low" or "medium" risk of contracting the virus, and thus guidelines no longer mandate masks. The District of Columbia is considered a "low" risk county as of Friday. 

All of these signals from the Biden administration signal that there are no good reasons why the U.S. Capitol remains closed to the public.

When it comes to Rep. Steil's resolution, his office told Townhall on Friday evening that it currently has 65 members who have signed onto it, all of who are Republicans. 

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