Johnson Interns Lead Letter to Open the U.S. Capitol

June 24, 2021
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, over one hundred and twenty bipartisan congressional interns led by four interns from the office of U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson (R-SD) sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy to reopen the U.S. Capitol to the American public. Since March 12, 2020, the U.S. Capitol has been closed to visitors due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Prior to the pandemic, the U.S. Capitol was visited annually by 3-5 million people from around the world,” said the interns. “By its tenth anniversary in December 2018, the Capitol Visitor Center had welcomed more than 21 million guests to the center of American democracy. One of the many opportunities we as interns are afforded in a typical semester is the privilege of guiding our districts’ constituents on a tour of the U.S. Capitol Building and grounds. If America’s seat of government remains closed in 2021, both constituents and congressional interns will continue to miss out on a formative experience. As congressional interns from both sides of the political aisle, our love of country is a shared trait. We’d be thrilled to provide this public service once again to our constituents and fellow countrymen.

“We recognize the most important consideration for reopening is the health and safety of the public. However, to date over 145 million Americans are fully vaccinated – including most Members of Congress and staffers – and D.C. has one of the highest vaccination rates in the country. As America returns to a sense of normalcy, we feel well-protected and well-prepared for the return of guests to the U.S. Capitol.”

Click here for the full clip.

One of the primary responsibilities of congressional interns is providing constituents with tours of the Capitol. More than 200 South Dakota students have visited Washington, D.C., in the last two weeks and have not been permitted to tour the U.S. Capitol Building.

The full letter can be found here.