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Rep. Fred Keller urges full reopening of House of Representatives to public

U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-Kreamer, said this week he stands by a recent statement he made throwing his support behind the full reopening of the House of Representatives.

The lawmaker, whose 12th Congressional District includes Lycoming County, recently signed a letter sent to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi urging the U.S. Capitol to no longer be shut off to the public.

“The United States Capitol has been closed to the public for over a year, despite plummeting COVID-19 case rates and increased vaccine availability. As Speaker, Nancy Pelosi has a duty to reopen the House and respect the constitutional rights of American citizens to participate actively in our democracy,” Keller said.

“Her continued failure to do so constitutes a knowing refusal to listen to the available public health guidance which tells us a safe reopening is possible,” he continued. “I am proud to join my colleagues in calling on Speaker Pelosi to finally reopen the People’s House.”

Keller indicated he remains steadfast in his belief for a full reopening, despite concerns from medical experts about vaccination rates and the spread of COVID-19 variants.

While conceding that the worst of the pandemic is over, they note that just 45.1 percent of the U.S. population has been fully vaccinated.

The Centers for Disease Control has warned that the Delta variant, first identified in India, could become the dominant strain in the U.S., and a vaccine is widely believed to be the best way for the nation to get ahead of the variants.

The letter, signed also by Republican House Leader Kevin McCarthy and Republican Whip Steve Scalise, states in part that “weekly case numbers in the United States have reached their lowest point since March 2020 at the very start of pandemic” and that each day hundreds of thousands of Americans are being vaccinated.

The letter further states: “Despite the data and the facts, the Capitol and House of Representatives are still closed and people’s constitutional right to petition their government remains severely constrained.”

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