The Rayburn Press Room, one of the spaces designated as workspace for the press in the Capitol complex, will close at the end of the year and be remodeled for use by a member of Congress.
The Standing Committee of Correspondents, the journalists elected to represent the daily press galleries in the Capitol, on Monday sent a letter to credentialed members of the press galleries to inform them that the Rayburn Press Room, located on the first floor of the Rayburn House Office Building, will change hands.
The Rayburn Press Room is notorious as an outdated and cramped space with unreliable power outlets and wireless signals, as well as asbestos contamination. Journalists tended to use it for its location close to committee rooms but second to the Capitol press galleries.
Rumored for a long time, Speaker Paul D. Ryan’s office informed the correspondents committee about the closure. The speaker’s office did not respond to a request for comment on which member would take over the space, although the shuffling of office space at the beginning of each congress, part of which is determined by a lottery for new members and the rest on seniority, makes such a determination difficult.
To make up for the loss of the gallery, the speaker said additional space will renovated on the ground floor of the Rayburn building for the use of the press.
“This shared space is envisioned to be a permanent, multi-use space for all media going forward. It will serve as common space for sure by print reporters as well as a small studio and designated booths to meet certain broadcast needs,” the letter read.
The speaker’s office could not guarantee more space, which the correspondents committee requested, but did say temporary space for journalists may open on an as-needed basis.