Chair Ryan Statement at the Health and Wellness of Employees and State of Damage and Preservation as a Result of the January 6 Insurrection Hearing

2021-02-24 10:09

Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH), Chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on Health and Wellness of Employees and State of Damage and Preservation as a Result of the January 6 Insurrection:

Good morning to our panel.  I am happy to welcome the Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton, the Chief Administrative Officer, Catherine Szpindor, and the House Curator, Farar Elliott.

Today is our second of three hearings reviewing the aftermath of the breaching of the Capitol by an insurrectionist mob on January 6th.  None of us at this hearing will soon forget that day, but how we remember it determines how we move forward and collectively learn from the mistakes.  If we do not adapt, or choose to only prepare for the last encounter, the capitol campus will continue to be vulnerable to unknown and unexpected threats.

This building, the Capitol, which Thomas Jefferson called “the first temple dedicated to the sovereignty of the people” stands for more than just us.  It stands for tomorrow and the day after that.  It stands for a future for all people and while it may seem to be a leap to some, this very small subcommittee is at the forefront as one of the protectors of representative democracy.  But we cannot militarize the Capitol in response to an attempted ransacking of representative democracy.

That is not what these first three hearings are about.  The purpose of this hearing is to dig deeper into what we are doing to support our House employees during these turbulent times.  It is to learn from the CAO on the current and future security and COVID-19 related needs for the House.  It is to receive an update on the damages to the House, both physical and to collections, because of the events of January 6.  And most importantly it is to continue the discussion on next steps to ensuring the physical safety of our campus, for Members of Congress to carry out our constitutional duties; provide resources to our Capitol Hill community to heal from this traumatic event; maintain a safe and open campus as much as possible, so that visitors from across the country and around the world can witness representative democracy in action.

It is incumbent on all of us to talk to each other and I welcome our witnesses today.  We are thankful for your leadership and the staff of your organizations who work so hard to make this House run.  

117th Congress