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21 photos that defined 2021 on Capitol Hill

As captured by CQ Roll Call's photojournalists on the ground

As the clock struck midnight on Jan. 1, 2021, the world celebrated that 2020 was over and that things would finally get back to normal. 2021 proved much more challenging than most expected.

From the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol to the rise of the delta variant (and now, omicron), this year was far from a reprieve from the issues that faced the nation throughout 2020. Some might argue it was worse.

CQ Roll Call’s photo team — senior staff photographer Tom Williams, photo editor Bill Clark and former staff photographer Caroline Brehman — wishes you a happy holiday season and sends you these 21 photos that sum up 2021:

1. Rep. Jason Crow, D-Colo., comforts Rep. Susan Wild, D-Pa., while taking cover in the House chamber as rioters disrupt the joint session of Congress to certify the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6. It took several hours to clear the mob. Congress would work later that night and well into the next morning to certify the votes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
2. Following the Jan. 6 attack, fencing with razor wire was erected around the Capitol complex. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
3. From left, Doug Emhoff, Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Jill Biden and President-elect Joe Biden wave from the Capitol steps as they arrive for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
4. The National Guard bolstered the U.S. Capitol Police force following the Jan. 6 riot, with troops stationed on Capitol grounds until late May. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
5. From left, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., celebrate as Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., and Rep. Katherine Clark, D-Mass., take a selfie following the American Rescue Plan Act enrollment ceremony on the West Front of the Capitol. Congress passed the $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package on March 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
6. Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., puts on a mask that reads “dignity” before the start of a news conference about immigration with other House Republican members outside the Capitol on March 17. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
7. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., has his temperature checked before visiting Greater Baden Medical Services to talk with staff about the American Rescue Plan and COVID-19 vaccinations in underserved communities in Brandywine, Md., on April 8. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
8. The casket of U.S. Capitol Police Officer William “Billy” Evans arrives in the Capitol on April 13. Evans was killed on April 2 in a violent incident at a security checkpoint on the Capitol grounds. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
9. A cleaning crew stages outside the Union Station Metro stop in Washington to conduct a cleaning and disinfecting of the subway station on April 15, as COVID-19 continued to spread. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
10. Vice President Kamala Harris, left, and Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talk before the start of President Joe Biden’s address to a joint session of Congress in the House chamber on April 28. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
11. A squirrel dines on a Snickers almond candy bar around lunchtime in Upper Senate Park outside the Capitol on May 12. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
12. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., gestures as he speaks with CNN’s Ted Barrett before the start of Senate Republicans’ weekly lunch in the Russell Senate Office Building on May 18. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
13. U.S Naval Academy midshipmen celebrate at the end of the academy’s graduation and commissioning ceremony in Annapolis, Md., on May 28. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
14. A bipartisan group of senators, including Rob Portman, R-Ohio, left, Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Mitt Romney, R-Utah, meet with White House aides to negotiate an infrastructure package in the basement of the Capitol on June 22. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)
15. The Colorado River winds through Horseshoe Bend in the Glen Canyon National Recreation Area in Page, Ariz., at sunset on Aug. 25. In August, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation issued the first ever water shortage declaration for Lake Mead and the lower Colorado River Basin. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
16. Afghan refugees board a bus after arriving at Dulles International Airport on Aug. 27 after leaving Afghanistan as it fell to the Taliban. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
17. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson gives a thumbs-up at the bust of Sir Winston Churchill after a meeting with Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Capitol on Sept. 22. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
18. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh crosses the finish line during the ACLI Capital Challenge 3-Mile Team Race in Anacostia Park in Washington on Sept. 29. He would test positive for COVID-19 several days after the event. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
19. Social media celebrity and heiress Paris Hilton attends a news conference on Oct. 20 outside the Capitol on legislation to establish a bill of rights for children placed in congregate care facilities. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
20. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, walks through a shaft of light from the Capitol Rotunda as she makes her way to the Senate Republican lunch in the Capitol on Oct. 26. Two days later, Collins would cast her 8,000th consecutive roll call vote, extending her unbroken voting record, which has spanned nearly 25 years. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
21. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., fist-bumps with a man wearing a “Build Back Better Bill” costume on the House steps as she arrives for votes on the legislation on Nov. 19. The House sent the measure to the Senate, where it remains awaiting action to this day. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

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