Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
November 24, 2014

Posts in "AOC"

November 21, 2014

Capitol Christmas Tree Arrives on the Hill

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The Capitol Christmas Tree is hoisted from the truck for transportation to the West Lawn of the Capitol on Friday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

All the way from Minnesota, the Capitol Christmas Tree arrived on Friday. Now, the Minnesota White Spruce just needs to be anchored upright, decorated head to toe and lit, finally, by Speaker John A. Boehner on Dec. 2.

This year’s tree traveled from the Chippewa National Forest in northern Minnesota with some companions from back home — thousands of handmade ornaments from North Star State children tagged along for the journey.

According to an Architect of the Capitol blog post about the tree, the tree was selected on a two-day trip in July by AOC Superintendent of Capitol Grounds Ted Bechtol.

The lighting ceremony will take place on Dec. 2 at 5 p.m. on the West Front Lawn of the Capitol. It will be lit every night when the sun goes down until Jan. 1.

Related:

Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Announced

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November 19, 2014

Capitol Dome Braces for Next Phase of Restoration

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Sen. John Hoeven discusses the dome restoration project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With frigid winds whipping around the 288 foot-tall Capitol Dome, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers said the next phase of the nearly $60 million restoration project has begun.

Ayers told reporters gathered on the roof of the Capitol Tuesday that the scaffolding surrounding the Dome was complete, which he said was “a significant milestone.”

“The purpose of the scaffold is a very practical one,” said Ayers. “With its completion, workers are now able to access the Dome freely and can use the equipment necessary to begin the restoration work in earnest.” And those workers will be spotted on the 25 levels of scaffolding throughout the winter months, according to restoration construction manager Joseph Abriatis. Full story

November 12, 2014

Pack Up Your Troubles: Members Begin Moving Out

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Eskandani, left, Weiss, right, Aimee Wall and David Uhlich from the Bancroft Library at the University of California Berkeley, check out posters while packing up Miller’s office. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

What does one do with 24 golden bulldogs?

“I’m trying to find homes for these things,” said Ed McDonald, chief of staff for retiring Rep. Howard Coble, describing the fiscal conservative awards the North Carolina Republican has acquired over the years. McDonald is packing up 30 years worth of memorabilia and documents before a different lawmaker moves into the Rayburn office.

While members of Congress who lost on Election Day are faced with the unpleasant task of packing up their belongings and moving out, other staffers who work for retiring members, and members who lost their primaries, have been packing up their offices for months. Full story

September 15, 2014

Capitol Hill Employees Concerned About July 10 Asbestos Exposure

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Asbestos was also a concern in 2007, as shown by Scott Smith, U.S. Capitol Power Plant worker, during a House Appropriations Legislative Branch Subcommittee hearing on “Capitol Power Plant Utility Tunnels.” (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The asbestos emergency that temporarily closed the House side of the Capitol was a scary ordeal for Architect of the Capitol and Capitol Police employees working the overnight shift.

Union officials representing workers at both agencies told CQ Roll Call they are concerned about potential exposure to the human carcinogen, which can cause chronic lung disease as well as cancer. The Office of Compliance, an agency created by Congress to ensure safety in the legislative branch workplace, has been asked to inspect the incident for an alleged violation of the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

Asbestos fibers and other debris were released into the air around 2:30 a.m. or 3 a.m., when AOC contractors removing insulation containing asbestos from pipes and valves on the Capitol’s fourth floor had an accident above the East Grand Staircase. Most of Capitol Hill learned about the incident hours later, when doors to the House side of the Capitol were closed as engineers and certified industrial hygienists evaluated the scene. Full story

September 5, 2014

Capitol Tour Guides Say They’ve Lost the Right to Drink Water

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Capitol tour guides say CVC management has made it nearly impossible to drink water during their physically demanding workdays. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“No food, no drinks,” instructed Capitol Police officers posted outside the doors of the Capitol Visitor Center as tourists approached the complex on a recent muggy day.

A blonde woman sporting a ponytail and backpack drained her 8-ounce plastic bottle and held it up to show the cops it was empty. She was waved toward the doors.

While visitors are allowed to carry water bottles, and can fill them up once they are inside, the guides who spend eight hours a day walking them through the Capitol and talking about Congress complain that their access to water has been severely limited by CVC management. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 12:46 p.m.
AOC, CVC

August 25, 2014

Christmas in August? Boehner Planning for Capitol Tree

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The 2013 Capitol Christmas Tree arrived in November from Washington state. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call FIle Photo)

A 65-foot spruce or balsam fir growing somewhere along Minnesota’s Paul Bunyan Trail will stand on the West Front Lawn this winter.

The North Star State’s Chippewa National Forest will provide the Capitol Christmas Tree this year, Speaker John A. Boehner, R-Ohio, announced Monday.

This year marks the second time the forest has provided the prominent evergreen. In 1992, Chippewa National Forest and Leech Lake Reservation sent a 60-foot white spruce to Washington, D.C., along with thousands of ornaments made by local school children. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:22 p.m.
AOC, Campus

August 22, 2014

Lights May Go Out on Capitol Dome Friday Night

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The Dome may go dark tonight. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Don’t be alarmed if the lights flicker outside the Capitol Dome Friday night. The enduring beacon of freedom isn’t dead — it’s undergoing regular maintenance.

The Architect of the Capitol is cautioning that brief power outages may occur as the agency performs planned maintenance to the electrical systems in the building. AOC spokeswoman Laura Condeluci assured CQ Roll Call the work is not related to the Dome restoration project, which has picked up pace during the August recess.

AOC electricians are responsible for thousands of miles of wiring and more than 100,000 light fixtures across Capitol Hill, according to the agency. Because many of the historic buildings on campus, including the Capitol, were built before electricity, they require continuous modernization and upgrades.

Full story

August 15, 2014

Break Room Fire Causes Evacuation at Capitol Power Plant

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(Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Capitol Power Plant was briefly evacuated Friday afternoon, as firefighters responded to a small fire in the break room.

Around 3:45 p.m., Capitol Police sent out an alert to notify the campus community that the complex on E Street Southeast was being evacuated due to signs of smoke. Fortunately, it was not an industrial blaze, but a small fire in an area with paper products, according to department spokeswoman Lt. Kimberly Schneider. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 5:05 p.m.
AOC, Capitol Police

August 11, 2014

Capitol Dome Restoration Work Picks Up Pace During August Recess

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Workers erect scaffolding around the Capitol Dome on Aug. 4. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

August recess is peak construction season for the nearly $60 million restoration of the Capitol Dome.

Up to now, the majority of the work on the 8.9 million pound cast-iron structure that has topped the Capitol for more than 150 years took place at night and on weekends to ensure minimal disruption to congressional business, events and public tours.

With members of the House and Senate back home in their districts, construction crews have been piecing together the vast scaffolding structure that will encase the 288 foot edifice for approximately two years. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 4:08 p.m.
AOC, Campus

August 8, 2014

‘House of Cards’ Film Crew Hits National Mall on Saturday

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Could more filming be coming to the Capitol grounds? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“House of Cards” is filming around the National Mall on Saturday, according to the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

It’s unlikely fans of the wildly popular Netflix series will spot stars Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright during the 10-hour set. Crews will be “shooting ‘drive-bys’, b-roll, and a mock-motorcade scene,” says a notice posted on the agency’s site.

Local officials would love to have the show, which shoots most of its scenes in Baltimore and other areas, do more production in the District, but filming in D.C. has its challenges — especially on the Capitol grounds. Full story

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