Press Release ● Coronavirus
For Immediate Release: 
May 1, 2020
Contact Info: 
Mariel Saez 202-225-3130
WASHINGTON, DC - House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) sent a letter this evening to the Chief Administrative Officer of the House, Philip Kiko, and the Attending Physician, Dr. Brian Monahan, asking them to share the guidance they have been developing on how to safely reopen the Capitol complex as soon as they can. 

"Any plans for reopening the House for in-person business must focus on protecting the health of workers, staff, press, and Members," Leader Hoyer wrote. "This is of particular concern for me, as many who work in the Capitol are my constituents in Maryland’s Fifth District."  

"In order to resume Capitol operations, we need to have detailed plans in place for the provision of supplies to disinfect surfaces and protect individuals from exposure and information on how many staff ought to return first in each office during a phased return," Leader Hoyer continued.  "Even when Members and staff are able to come back, social distancing measures will likely have to remain in place for some time, which is why any reopening plans ought to account for the need to employ virtual tools for caucus gatherings, press events, and committee meetings.  I ask that you take these points into consideration as you continue to develop reopening plans."

To read the letter in full, see below or click here
 
 
Dear Mr. Kiko and Dr. Monahan: 
 
The House has now passed four significant pieces of legislation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, including a $2 trillion package of assistance for hospitals, health care workers, and help for those impacted by the pandemic’s economic effects.  We did so both through voice votes and through recorded votes on the Floor when they were necessary with a very safe procedure in place to ensure social distancing.  Throughout this pandemic, Members have continued to be hard at work remotely to ensure that the House is doing its job for the American people and staying in close contact with governors, state and local officials, executive branch agencies, and House and Senate leadership.  Along with the extraordinary efforts by Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren and the House Administration Committee, your practical guidance throughout this crisis has, thus far, been a critical part of ensuring the safety and well-being of the House and all who serve here as we continue our work and adopt new ways of conducting the people’s business.   
 
Now, as we look ahead to the coming weeks, I write to ask that you share the guidance you have been developing on how best the House and Capitol complex might reopen as soon as you can.  As we look to resume operations, we must do so gradually and carefully.  Members and staff will continue to look to health care officials for the National Capital Region, and to the Office of the Attending Physician in particular, to help us make an assessment of when this process could begin.  You recognize, as we do, that there ought to be plans in place long before that moment arrives.   
 
Any plans for reopening the House for in-person business must focus on protecting the health of workers, staff, press, and Members.  This is of particular concern for me, as many who work in the Capitol are my constituents in Maryland’s Fifth District.  Maryland, Virginia, and the District of Columbia all continue to have stay-at-home orders in effect, and I have encouraged federal agencies to employ telework practices to the maximum extent possible.  Congressional staff and workers ought to have that same opportunity to work remotely for as long as necessary, and I will be supporting rules changes authorizing and empowering the House and its committees 
to conduct all legislative activities – such as hearings, markup, Floor debate, and voting – remotely over virtual platforms.   
 
In order to resume Capitol operations, we need to have detailed plans in place for the provision of supplies to disinfect surfaces and protect individuals from exposure and information on how many staff ought to return first in each office during a phased return.  Even when Members and staff are able to come back, social distancing measures will likely have to remain in place for some time, which is why any reopening plans ought to account for the need to employ virtual tools for caucus gatherings, press events, and committee meetings.  I ask that you take these points into consideration as you continue to develop reopening plans.   
 
As Majority Leader overseeing the business of the Floor and as Representative for a large number of legislative branch employees in Maryland’s Fifth District, I take very seriously my responsibility to ensure the safety of all who work for the American people on Capitol Hill.  That is why I believe we must have solid plans in place well in advance of any effort to resume most in-person operations once declared safe to do so by public health officials.  I appreciate that you have both been working hard already to develop such plans and guidance and hope you will share them with Members soon.   
 
Thank you for considering this request, and I look forward to continuing to work with you to ensure the safety of all Members and employees of the House as we navigate this challenge together.  
 
Sincerely yours, 

STENY H. HOYER      
House Majority Leader