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Last week, Capitol Police spokesman Shennell Antrobus said in an email that the force was devising a sequester contingency plan “carefully designed to accommodate the reduced funding levels; with the goal of ensuring that the safety and security of the Capitol complex will be maintained.”
On Thursday, Gainer, who is also chairman of the Capitol Police Board, said the plan proposes budget cuts by closing entrances around the Capitol complex. This strategy would result in saving overtime payments to the officers assigned to secure these doors and security checkpoints.
The House Sergeant-at-Arms’ office declined to comment on how it plans to confront the potential sequester. It might be less of a challenge for the department’s leader, Paul Irving, than for his Senate counterpart, however, given that Irving has considerably fewer direct reports. The House Chief Administrative Officer handles all of the corresponding administrative functions that Gainer’s office oversees in the Senate.
Whatever changes are felt in the legislative branch, they were predicted months ago by Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., who was chairman of the House Administration Committee and a fierce defender of the institution of Congress up until his defeat in November.
“I’ve always thought the legislative branch was a pretty important function, as opposed to many different executive branch agencies, and if sequestration occurred, I think we would sustain cuts that would be felt,” he warned. “We’re going to find out what it means.”