Architect of the Capitol

Capitol-Cannon Tunnel Floods, Surprising Very Few
Rain-caused waterfalls not a rare occurrence in aging buildings

Capitol Police officers direct traffic away from the flooded Cannon tunnel (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call).

Tuesday’s extreme weather touched down on the Hill when tourists, lawmakers, staff and press were all turned away from the tunnel connecting the Capitol to the Cannon House Office Building after water flooded the pedestrian passageway.

Capitol Police officers keeping people away from the area were not surprised.

Harriet Tubman Statue May Come to Capitol
Maryland wants to add abolitionist to the halls of Congress

Maryland Sen. Chris Van Hollen is working to place a statue of Harriet Tubman in the Capitol (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The state of Maryland is moving closer to having a statue of abolitionist Harriet Tubman built for display in the United States Capitol.

The state’s junior senator, Democrat Chris Van Hollen, said at a recent hearing that his staff has been working with the Architect of the Capitol to plan for the creation and donation of the sculpture.

Ducks Not Using Duck Ramp ... Yet

Heard on the Hill This Week: The Saga of the Student Painting Heist

Throughout a week filled with heated confirmation hearings and a late-night vote-a-rama, one story continuously dogged Roll Call’s Heard on the Hill reporter Alex Gangitano: some lawmakers kept taking down a controversial student painting in the Cannon tunnel. Watch the video for a play-by-play from Gangitano.

Ryan Calls Ferguson Painting ‘Disgusting’ ]

Capitol Dome Starting to Look Like Itself Again

After being masked by scaffolding for nearly two years, the iconic Capitol Dome is returning to its normal look (no doubt a relief to selfie-snapping tourists throughout the district). With just five months until the next president is sworn in on the West Front of the building, here's a look at where the dome restoration project stands. 

No Exposure to Asbestos From Separated Duct in Capitol Attic
Architect of the Capitol made repairs on Thursday

A separated duct in the Capitol attic caused rumors of exposure to asbestos. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Air samples were found to be well below the regulatory limit for general space occupancy after the Architect of the Capitol discovered a separated duct in the attic of the Capitol.

On Thursday, the duct was identified and AOC shut off the air and evacuated the suites in the area served by the air handler, AOC spokeswoman Erin Courtney said. 

House Staff to be Screened for Lead Poisoning
Free blood work offered to those exposed to tainted water

Howard Dublin, 56, has blood drawn by Kanika Johnson outside the Russell House Office Building in 2004. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

A week after shutting down the drinking water in the Cannon House Office Building due to an inexplicable spike in lead levels, Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers is moving forward with complimentary blood testing for anyone affected by the health scare.  

“I am pleased to report that starting tomorrow, July 6, 2016, blood lead level testing will be available to House Members and Staff, with a valid congressional badge, at no cost to the individual or office,” AOC officials alerted the Capitol Hill community late Tuesday via email.  

Officials to Explain Hazards of House Office Drinking Water
Congressional staff invited to briefing after elevated lead levels found

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Fla., demanded more information on the extent of the health hazard on the congressional campus . (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Officials with the Architect of the Capitol will answer questions about the severity of contaminated drinking water on the congressional campus in three meetings today after repeated requests from Florida Republican Dennis A. Ross.  

[Water in House Office Building Too Dangerous to Drink] The discussions are scheduled for Friday at 10 a.m., noon and 2 p.m. in the Cannon House Office Building. Earlier this week AOC banned staff in Cannon from using drinking fountains and office filtration units after spotting elevated levels of lead in recent test samples.  

Water in House Office Building Too Dangerous to Drink
Congressional administrators investigating sudden spike in lead levels

Jiaxuan Tai, 5, takes a drink from the fountain on the west front of the Capitol in July 2006. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

All sources of drinking water in the Cannon House Office Building were shut down Tuesday after the architect of the Capitol noticed unusually high amounts of lead during routine sampling, a health scare lawmakers deemed totally unacceptable.  

“The most recent results, received the week of June 27, 2016, indicate lead levels in primary drinking water sources (e.g., drinking fountains) are slightly above the Environmental Protection Agency standard,” AOC officials warned on an internal discussion board.