How Congress is prepping in case of a coronavirus outbreak on Capitol Hill

A number of House and Senate offices have begun practicing how they would operate if a chunk of aides were forced into quarantine and had to work from home, congressional sources say. US Capitol Police are working to ensure that secure communications can continue off-site. The leaders of key congressional committees, along with law enforcement authorities and the Capitol physician’s office, have informed each lawmaker’s office to prepare contingency plans in case of an outbreak.

And lawmakers say it’s possible that more extreme measures could have to be taken — such as limiting tourists in the Capitol or moving legislative business off-site — though those measures are not yet seriously being considered.

The uptick in discussions reflects the growing realization that it’s only a matter of time before an aide or a member of Congress tests positive for the disease or is exposed to it, something that could cause staff or lawmakers to be quarantined for two weeks and upend legislative business on the Hill.