Congress could fire Capitol architect under bipartisan bill

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Blanton, who in his role was responsible for the maintenance, care and security of the Capitol complex, said he didn’t think he’d be able to access the building on the day that Trump supporters breached the Capitol. Blanton said he instead set up a “mobile command center” in the government-issued vehicle he was accused of misusing. 

“But you didn’t come — because you said you couldn’t get on the campus, which I find offensive, sir,” Rep. Stephanie Bice, R-Okla., said to Blanton at the hearing. “The fact that you would say, ‘I wasn’t going to be able to get in’ — I cannot fathom that.” Biden eventually fired Blanton on Feb. 13.

The hearing “brought to light the importance of the position and the need to modernize the appointment process,” Steil said in a statement. “This bill will give Congress sole responsibility in selecting new leadership and, when necessary, the authority to hold bad actors accountable.”

Klobuchar urged patience after Blanton’s firing in February as Congress began the process of finding a new architect, which has sometimes taken more than a year.

It took 436 days to fill the role after a retirement in 1995 and 1,193 days after a 2007 vacancy. Before the Senate confirmed Blanton, the role had been open for 391 days, according to a 2021 Congressional Research Service report.

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