Preparations for the Inauguration Day will begin in earnest Sept. 10, when the Architect of the Capitol will shut down the lower terrace of the West Front of the Capitol to begin constructing the stands for the quadrennial event.
Site preparations will pick up steam well before voters go to the polls to choose whether President Barack Obama or Republican nominee Mitt Romney takes the oath of office on Jan. 21.
“Fencing is being erected around the construction site and there will be no access to the Member and staff entrance on the lower terrace,” until mid-Februrary, according to a press release from the Architect of the Capitol.
The timing accounts for the time needed to break down the stands after the inaugural festivities.
Initial planning for Inauguration Day began in late March, when the Committee on Inaugural Ceremonies approved a $1.2 million budget. The committee is made up of a bipartisan group of Congressional leaders, including Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), as well as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
It will be the seventh time the Constitutionally mandated Jan. 20 swearing-in date has has fallen on a Sunday, requiring the celebration to be moved to the following day, and the second time the inauguration will fall on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Lois Lerner, director of exempt organizations for the IRS, arrives for a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the investigation of the IRS' targeting of political groups. Lerner invoked her Fifth Amendment right to not testify and caused a protest from some committee members when she offered an opening statement and engaged in dialogue with members before invoking the right.
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