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Tipsheet

Hagerty Sets Deadline for Senate Dems to Reopen Capitol to the American People

AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster

After a week of apparent inaction following agreement on a resolution to reopen the Capitol and Senate office buildings to the American people, Republican Senator Bill Hagerty of Tennessee sent a letter — reviewed exclusively by Townhall — Monday evening to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Rules and Administration Committee Chairwoman Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) that set a deadline for Democrats to act in accordance with the reopening resolution.

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One week ago, Hagerty succeeded in his efforts to secure agreement on a resolution — S.Res.512 — to reopen the U.S. Senate and Capitol to the American people after nearly two years of the public being prohibited from entering the seat of American government due to Democrat lockouts triggered by the pandemic. "Senate Democrats have finally re-joined reality," Hagerty tweeted on March 1st when Democrats agreed to his resolution after they previously blocked his attempts to allow the public to once again walk the halls of Congress. 

In the week since the Senate agreed to the reopening resolution, though, there hasn't been any concrete action toward allowing the public back into the Capitol or Senate office buildings. So Hagerty is keeping his foot on the gas to ensure that Democrat leadership follows through on the Senate's word and allows the American people back into the Capitol.

"[W]hile I understand that certain planning and coordination with the Senate Sergeant at Arms, United States Capitol Police, and other staff may be necessary to implement the resolution and that staffing or operational issues may require a staged reopening, urgent planning for reopening the Capitol and Senate office buildings as soon as possible should be ongoing," Hagerty explains in his letter to Schumer and Klobuchar. 

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"More specifically, it seems eminently reasonable that S.Res.512 be implemented by Monday, April 4," Hagerty added. "Given that the Senate has voted in support of reopening, if you do not believe it is feasible to reopen within this reasonable time frame, please provide specific reasons why. In such case, at the very least, you should immediately schedule a Rules Committee hearing to discuss what steps remain before the Capitol can reopen to the American people," Hagerty stipulated. 

"As the Senate recognized in this resolution, reopening the Capitol to the American people is critical to facilitating public participation in the legislative process and public enjoyment of these historic buildings," Hagerty also wrote. "Most Americans have returned to work, stores, restaurants, and other public places have been welcoming Americans since 2020, and tens of thousands of people routinely gather across the country for sporting, entertainment, worship, and other events," the letter notes. "Last week, hundreds of people gathered in the Capitol without masks for the State of the Union address."

"I look forward to working with you to welcome the American people back into the halls of Congress very soon," Hagerty concluded, also noting that efforts similar to his own resolution to reopen the Senate "are ongoing in the House of Representatives, as Representative Ralph Norman and Bryan Steil have introduced H.Res.934 and H.Res.961, respectively, which likewise urge reopening of the Capitol and House office buildings."

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