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Pelosi Rules out Shutting Down the Capitol Over Coronavirus Concerns

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For the time being, it looks like doors of the Capitol will stay open, despite lawmakers growing wary about staying in Washington, D.C., as the coronavirus spreads. 

During a closed-door meeting with Congressional Democrats on Tuesday, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) reportedly recommended that members leave Washington, D.C., and return to their districts.

According to The Hill, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said members should not leave, “We are the captains of the ship. We are the last to leave.”

Nadler’s suggestion to leave Washington, D.C., comes just days after five House members announced that they are self-quarantining after coming in contact with individuals who tested positive for the coronavirus at an event.

Pelosi has thus far expressed little interest in changing the schedule for lawmakers due to the coronavirus. 

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When asked if she would extend an upcoming recess, she said, “That’s not planned.” And when asked if she would shorten that recess to bring lawmakers back to work sooner to vote on economic relief measures, Pelosi said, “If there’s a necessity.” 

Additionally, Pelosi also rejected calls for closing the Capitol to public tours. 

For now, Pelosi said she thinks focusing on whether or not to keep the Capitol open is “unreasonable and probably in some ways not focused enough on what needs to be focused on.”

REUTERS/Loren Elliott/File Photo

As the virus spread across the country, members of Congress have reportedly grown increasingly nervous about the outbreak — and not just for their constituents.

As NBC News reports, the average of House members is 57.6 years old, and more than a third of the senators are over 60. 

Many members of Congress are reportedly worried about becoming infected with the virus as they are in or approaching the age range where the coronavirus statistically has the highest mortality rate.

While Pelosi has appeared reluctant to let the virus disrupt Congress’ schedule, at least one committee was making preparations for staffers so they can work from home.

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