US House closed after construction incident

WASHINGTON - House Republican leaders said Thursday they delayed the start of business due to an accident involving asbestos.

In a statement, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said the House would not convene at 10 a.m. EDT for morning business, but lawmakers were expected to convene at noon to begin legislative work.

A hazardous material response team was on site following an incident that began sometime around 2:30 a.m. to 3 a.m., Capitol Police said.

The House Door and South Door were temporarily closed, Capitol Police said. Tours of the Capitol building were temporarily suspended, but tours of the visitor center were not affected. The House Press Gallery was reopened later in the morning.

The Architect of the Capitol released a statement indicating the incident involves possible asbestos exposure.

"During ongoing asbestos abatement work there was a potential release affecting the House side of the Capitol," the statement read. "Samples have been collected to determine whether there was potential exposure."

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