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Expand chart
Data: Architect of the Capitol; Chart: Danielle Alberti/Axios

The frequency of public figures lying in state or honor in the U.S. Capitol has increased during the past two decades, according to data from the Architect of the Capitol.

Why it matters: A tribute largely reserved for presidents and other political leaders has now trickled down to ordinary citizens and guardians of the building itself, as Congress has sought to allow the nation to collectively acknowledge men and women who've left their mark on the country.

  • Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will be the latest accorded the honor, when he lies in state in the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 12, congressional leaders announced Sunday.
  • Last month, another former majority leader, Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.), received the same public tribute.
  • In 2020, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg also was honored at the Capitol — but she lay in state next to the Rotunda in Statuary Hall.

By the numbers: Since 2000, the number of deceased Americans who have lain in the Capital is 13.

  • In the previous two decades, it was four, including two Capitol police officers killed in the line of duty, Florida Sen. Claude D. Pepper and an unknown soldier from the Vietnam War.
  • In the 1960s and '70s, Congress honored eight Americans, including four presidents.

Go deeper

House ramps up COVID measures ahead of return

U.S. Capitol building on Jan. 6. Photo: Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images.

The House of Representatives is instituting new coronavirus precautions as members prepare to return from the holiday recess next week.

Why it matters: Capitol physician Brian P. Monahan sent an alert to offices on Monday warning that the Capitol test center's positivity rate has spiked from 1% to 13% due to the spread of Omicron.

  • In addition to telling offices to "adopt a maximal telework posture," Monahan said staff should wear KN95 masks, rather than cloth or surgical masks, when in crowded spaces or indoors with others.

What they're saying: "I have heard from many Members expressing concerns about the surge in COVID-19 cases relating to the highly infectious Omicron variant," House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said in a letter to members on Friday.

  • Hoyer announced the House will "lengthen voting times and limit the number of votes taken on the Floor" in an effort to reduce the number of members in the chamber at any given time.
  • The majority leader also urged members to wear KN95 masks and "refrain from congregating" on the floor. Masks are mandated in the chamber.
  • "I encourage you to continue taking steps in your offices to promote the safety of all who work for the House and those visiting for official business," Hoyer added.

The Capitol's chief administrative officer (CAO) simultaneously announced that House offices will start receiving a monthly allotment of KN95 masks to adhere with recommendations from the CDC and the Capitol physician.

  • The KN95s will replace a previous allotment of surgical masks, the CAO said.

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker