Lines to get into the Capitol today are “ridiculous” and a “disaster,” according to staffers who work in members’ offices on Capitol Hill.
“The lines wrap around the building,” according to a Senate staffer, who says folks waiting in line to get inside are getting soaked by the steady stream of rain. “It’s very unusual. Lots of people late to meetings today. And now Obama's pulling up to the Senate, so it’s going to be even more of a disaster.”
President Obama is scheduled to meet with Senate Democrats today for lunch to discuss the federal budget, which will be unveiled sometime soon.
“Apparently some of the doors weren’t opened until 9 o’clock,” said another staffer. “With a few continuing to remain closed.”
The staffer explained that it’s a busy time of year. “It’s also March Madness on the Hill,” he said. “A time when a lot of constituents are coming through.” But even so, it’s worse than usual.
“They are minimizing overtime,” the staffer says of the Capitol Police.
Officer Antrobus, of the Capitol Police, confirms that some doors are closed.
“Because of sequester a variety of doors are closed,” he says. In all, “10 doors are closed … until further notice.” The officer was not able to say what percentage 10 doors to the Capitol complex constitutes.
But entrances are closed to staffers and the public.
As far as today’s mayhem goes, the spokesman for the Capitol Police said he had not heard any complaints.
When asked whether the president’s visit to the Capitol today might be adding to the long lines to get in, the officer declined to comment.
“I can’t talk about anything to do with POTUS and security,” said Officer Antrobus.