Congress may barely function, but at least it barely functions in an iconic building that’s worth keeping in good condition, right? Well, kind of.
Earlier this week, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to request that $61 million to repair some 1,300 cracks in the U.S. Capitol’s dome be added to a continuing resolution that will fund the government through March 2013, writes The Hill. “It would be a national embarrassment if partisan gridlock allowed this iconic work of architecture to fall into a state of permanent decay,” Schumer wrote in his letter.
But despite what would seem like an easy bipartisan issue, not all Democrats and Republicans see eye to eye on the need for the repairs. Earlier this month, the Senate agreed to allocate funds, but House legislators said that the cracks weren’t a pressing enough health and safety issue to merit immediate action. And in response to Schumer’s letter, a Boehner spokesman said that “the Speaker is confident we can work together to fix the Capitol Dome without more political posturing from Sen. Schumer.”
Schumer has said that he’s worried that if there are any delays in funding the repairs, their cost will increase substantially. “This is basic upkeep to the United States Capitol building. There is a time and place to debate spending levels and the proper role of the federal government, but when your house has a leaky roof, you pay to fix the roof,” Schumer told The New York Times.
The Capitol dome has not undergone substantial renovations since the 1960s.