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No Hazard Found in Suspicious Vehicle at Capitol

The scene outside the Capitol. (Bridget Bowman/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police investigated a suspicious vehicle outside the Capitol for more than an hour Thursday night, though nothing hazardous was found.  

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CQ Roll Call there appeared to be a pressure cooker inside the vehicle, which was located on the West Front of the Capitol.  A Capitol Police spokeswoman did not acknowledge the pressure cooker, but said in a statement sent just after 6:30 p.m. that the owner of the vehicle "is in the food service industry."  

Capitol Worker Strike: More People, New Target One Year Later

Roughly 100 Capitol workers went on strike Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Last November, seven Capitol workers walked off their jobs to push for higher wages and a union. A year later, more than 10 times as many workers went on strike with the same mission, but a different target.  

The seven original strikers from the Capitol Visitor Center marked the first time workers from the U.S. Capitol joined the push for higher wages. On Tuesday morning, roughly 100 workers from the CVC, the Senate and the Capitol went on strike, joining workers from other areas of the federal government to push for $15-an-hour wages and a union. "It has grown, and we got more progressive … stronger, more demanding and more sensitive toward our needs," CVC worker Reginald Lewis, 52, who was at the first strike, told CQ Roll Call. He later added, "It’s like a family.”  

Capitol Workers to Strike Ahead of GOP Debate

Sanders will once again join the workers at a strike on Tuesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Hours before a Republican primary debate, workers in the U.S. Capitol are going on strike and calling on the GOP senators running for president to help the workers who serve them.  

Senate food-service workers and some cleaning staff are set to walk off their jobs Tuesday morning to call for higher wages and a union. The event is set for Tuesday to highlight GOP presidential contenders who, in the opinion of the striking workers, have been silent on the Capitol workers' low wages. With the presidential hopefuls set to take the stage in Milwaukee, Wis., for the Fox Business Network debate, the strike organizers have specifically called out Sens. Marco Rubio of Florida and Ted Cruz of Texas.  

Alarm Prompts Evacuation of Capitol Power Plant

The Capitol Power Plant heats and cools the Capitol complex. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Capitol Power plant was evacuated Monday morning due to an audible alarm in the boiler room, though police said there was no fire.  

The Capitol Police command center informed CQ Roll Call that an alarm prompted the evacuation, though there was no fire in the room and everything appeared to be alright. The officer did not have more information and didn't say what prompted the alarm. A spokesperson for the Architect of the Capitol wrote in an email that the evacuation was due to an alarm that went off, but did not immediately respond to an inquiry as to what set off the alarm.  

Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes: 'I'm Proud of What I Did'

Hughes plans to plead guilty to one felony charge. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Douglas Hughes said Friday he plans to plead guilty to one felony charge related to his gyrocopter flight to the Capitol in April — but he is not ashamed.  

The Florida man flew from Pennsylvania to the Capitol on April 15, to deliver letters to Congress pushing for a campaign finance overhaul. He was immediately arrested for breaching restricted airspace and later indicted on two felony and four misdemeanor charges. After several months of negotiations, Hughes is poised to accept a plea deal this month. "I’m proud of what I did and I’m not going to be ashamed of accepting a felony conviction," Hughes said in a phone interview with CQ Roll Call. "Somebody sent me a link to a song on YouTube, the title of which says it all. It says, 'Have You Been to Jail for Freedom?' It says it all.”  

Hill Makes Pitch for Protected Bike Lanes

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The commute could get a little easier for cyclists who trek between Union Station and Capitol Hill, if Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers and local transportation officials can agree.  

Support for a protected bike lane on Louisiana Avenue has grown steadily in recent months, with the Congressional Bike Caucus and Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen backing the plan. On Wednesday, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C., added her voice to the chorus. "This project has broad support from the community and Members of Congress, and it would provide a vital benefit to the many residents, visitors, and workers that traverse the area by bicycle," she wrote in a letter to Ayers and District of Columbia Department of Transportation Director Leif Dormsjo.  

Senate Leaders Join Dining Boycott

Schumer and Brown pose with Senate workers. (Photo courtesy Good Jobs Nation)

Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Sen. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., the chamber's No. 3 Democrat, made a surprise appearance in a Senate cafeteria Wednesday afternoon to join a boycott of the Senate's food service vendor. Senate staffers launched the boycott last week , urging Restaurant Associates to raise wages for Senate workers and allow for collective bargaining. Roughly 80 staffers showed up at the boycott Wednesday, bringing their lunches in brown bags marked with stickers that read, "Senate Staff Solidarity."  

"I'm proud of each of you," Reid told the staffers and workers gathered in the Dirksen Senate Office Building cafeteria.  

Cannon Asbestos Scare Raises Safety Questions

A portion of the Cannon basement is closed for construction. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An asbestos scare in the Cannon House Office Building over the weekend has raised questions about workplace safety, as construction and renovation of the century-old structure continues.  

Cannon was closed after work on Oct. 30 and for most of Oct. 31 as engineers and industrial hygienists investigated a potential asbestos leak during the ongoing Cannon Renewal Project. Though preliminary air samples tested negative for the carcinogen, the Architect of the Capitol's website indicated late on Oct. 31 that "sample results were well below the regulatory limit for general space occupancy." In other words, some traces of the chemical were found in the air, which was tested by an "an independent, accredited lab" according to the AOC, but those levels were not considered harmful. A spokeswoman for the AOC did not return multiple requests for comment about whether any changes are being implemented following the asbestos scare.  

Cannon Reopens After Asbestos Scare

Workers surveyed the Cannon tunnel after water damage in August 2011. (Tom Williams/Roll Call File Photo)

Officials have reopened the Cannon House Office Building after an asbestos scare shuttered its doors from late Friday through most of Saturday.  

The Architect of the Capitol announced on its website at 11:18 p.m. Saturday that trained professionals and outside analysts had performed tests and determined air samples were "well below the regulatory limit." "Engineers and certified industrial hygienists assessed the situation and an independent, accredited lab performed a rigorous air sampling analysis," the AOC said in a statement. "The building is safe to reopen."  

Cannon Evacuated for Potential Asbestos Leak

Architect of the Capitol Stephen T. Ayers discusses the Cannon House Office Building renewal project. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The Cannon House Office Building was evacuated Friday night for a potential asbestos leak, and the building is closed until further notice.  

House staff received an emergency alert shortly after 7:30 p.m. to evacuate Cannon for a potential asbestos leak. A spokesperson for the Architect of the Capitol confirmed the potential release of asbestos occurred during construction as part of the Cannon Renewal Project.