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WASHINGTON — The U.S. Capitol has been mostly closed to the public since the early days of the pandemic.

In order to get into the Capitol, you have to have an escort by a member of any lawmaker’s staff. It’s essentially been that way every since early March of 2020 meaning no public tours, and limited access for lobbyists and business visitors.

The restrictions have made talking directly with American citizens difficult, says Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN).

“What constituents from back Indiana enjoyed most, senior Sen. Todd Young of Indiana started before I got here: the Hoosier Huddle,” Braun said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “From 9:00 to 10:00 every Tuesday, every Wednesday, we had folks from all over our state coming into the Capitol so we could have conversations about the issues that were important.”

Braun said since the beginning of the COVID pandemic they have had to have these meetings through Zoom.

“I rise today in support of the senator from Tennessee’s resolution to reopen the Capitol,” Braun said. “The rest of the country is saying ‘enough is enough.’ We want to get back to at least some of the way prior to COVID.”

Braun said it’s not fair that lobbyists now have more access to the U.S. Capitol because of close connections with staffers of lawmakers and that regular American citizens don’t have that same access right now.