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Shutdown would mean fewer visitors at Capitol complex, and fewer open doors

Library of Congress buildings and the U.S. Botanic Garden would be closed to the public

Dark clouds hang above the Capitol dome on Monday.
Dark clouds hang above the Capitol dome on Monday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A government shutdown would significantly curtail the number of doors open on the Capitol complex and halt all Capitol Police training exercises, according to a tentative plan reviewed by CQ Roll Call.

The Capitol would be open to official visitors only, and the building would be closed to tours, general visitors and member-led tours. The House and Senate buildings would be open only for official business.

Only one door in each House and Senate office building would be open under the plan. That means, when Congress is in session, buildings such as Dirksen on the Senate side and Rayburn on the House side would have one entrance and exit, not including garage entry points.

All Library of Congress buildings are scheduled to be closed to the public and the U.S. Botanic Garden would also be shuttered for the duration of the shutdown.

For the Capitol Police, the contingency framework set to go into effect when funding runs out would keep staffing to protect members and the campus. All sworn officers are considered essential and continue reporting to work, the department said.

Other employees, referred to by the department as “civilian,” would be furloughed, with exceptions.

“During a government shutdown, all officers and limited civilian employees with the United States Capitol Police will report to work as normal,” Brianna Burch, a department spokesperson said in a statement.

“All other employees, those who are not required to perform or support emergency functions, will be furloughed until funding is made available,” Burch said. “Regardless of the shutdown, the Department will continue to meet its critical mission.”

The department expects to maintain standard staffing levels for the Operational Services Bureau, which houses the Special Operations Division, Hazardous Materials Response Team and Containment and Emergency Response Team.

Standard staffing would also remain at the Protective Services Bureau, which includes Dignitary Protection Division and Investigations Division, along with the Command and Control Bureau and the Security Services Bureau.