Dec 1, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Congress plots COVID pandemic-era office upgrades

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office today.

oving crates outside Rep. Elise Stefanik's old office Tuesday. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

The House plans to renovate members' suites even though staff are worried about an influx of contractors and D.C. is tightening restrictions on large gatherings, some staffers told Axios.

Why it matters: The Capitol has been closed to public tours since March. Work over the holiday season comes as U.S. coronavirus cases spike, Americans beg for more pandemic assistance and food lines grow.

One measure aimed at reducing risk is also raising eyebrows: "Only members’ personal offices will receive new paint, furniture, carpet and drapes (if eligible)," said a "Dear Colleague" letter sent by the Architect of the Capitol.

  • Staffers have to wait until January to get their office space spiffed up.

What they're saying:  "The problem is, members are used to a concierge experience," one staffer told Axios.

  • "I wish we could serve as an example to people on how to run their hygiene and safety operations. There’s an arc toward progress, but there’s still a lot of work to do."
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