Congressional staff are being told to work from home or to get a hotel room – that can be paid for by their tax-payer funded office – as a trucker convoy protesting covid vaccine mandates encircles Washington.
An armada of drivers calling themselves the People’s Convoy has descended upon the nation’s capitol and is encircling the Beltway – the circular stretch of I495 that connects Virgina, Maryland and Washington D.C.
The goal, organizers aid, is to be a ‘huge pain,’ causing massive traffic jams as commuters try to make their way through the D.C. metro area.
To help combat drive times, House Sergeant at Arms William Walker and House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine Szpindor wrote to Capitol Hill staff on Sunday night to urge them to either work from home or use public transportation.
If that was not an option, the two House officers gave the unusual option of letting staff get a hotel room paid for by their congressional office, which is funded by taxpayer money, so they can stay close to the Capitol and avoid a commute.
‘In general, living expenses and commuting expenses, including lodging expenses at a Member’s or employee’s regular duty station, are not reimbursable with official funds, except in extraordinary circumstances,’ Walker and Szpindor write in a letter obtained by DailyMail.com.
‘Considering the current situation, the Committee on House Administration has determined that extraordinary circumstances exist to permit use of official funds to reimburse short-term lodging expenses in the Washington, D.C., area for certain Members and staff,’ they noted.
Congressional staff are being told to work from home or to get a hotel room as a trucker convoy protesting covid vaccine mandates encircles Washington.
The trucks in the protest waved American flags as they drove around Washington D.C.
The People’s Convoy started its Washington protest on Sunday, encircling the I495 Beltway that connects Virginia, Washington D.C. and Maryland
To meet the requirement for an office-paid hote room, staff must show their commute to the Capitol would be disrupted by the convoy, that their job is essential and requires them to be on the four-acre Capitol campus, and there is no feasible public transportation option.
Residents of the D.C. metro area are being worried of possible traffic jams during the Monday rush hour because of the massive 18-wheelers.
In a statement posted to Twitter on Sunday night, the Maryland State Police urged drivers to anticipate ‘higher volumes of traffic’ as they try to get to work on Monday, when the convoy plans to once again loop the 64-mile Beltway.
‘While public safety remains a priority and we work to fulfill our statewide law enforcement responsibilities, the Maryland State Police respects the public’s First Amendment rights,’ the police said in the statement.
But, in a bit of irony, the convoy, which wanted to cause traffic jams, ended up getting caught up in Washington notorious traffic itself on Sunday.
As the trucks made their way onto I495 Beltway, they moved slowly to try and block the multi-lane highway but their presence got deluded by the mass of vehicles that traverses one of the busiest interstates in the country.
Most cars were able to move around the trucks, which flew American flags and had signs that read ‘Don’t tread on me’ and ‘mandate freedom.’
Officials, however, were worried things could be worse on Monday when the commuter rush is even bigger.
‘It is an unpredictable and fluid event that we are witnessing,’ said Christopher Rodriguez, director of the D.C. Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency. ‘Our residents, commuters and visitors should expect traffic disruptions over the next several days.’
Even some motorcyclists joined in on the protest against mask and vaccine mandates as the convoy made its move on Sunday
The armada of trucks plans to make its way to the Capitol on Monday morning
The self-styled People’s Convoy, estimated to span 30 miles, circled the 64-mile Beltway on Sunday
The thousands of individuals protesting the country’s vaccine and mask mandates plan to leave Hagerstown Speedway in , their staging ground for the past few nights, at around 9:30 a.m. and make their way to the Capitol early Monday morning, according to The Washington Post.
They then plan to loop around the Beltway just once on Monday, after circling the city twice on Sunday, organizer Brian Brase said. But this time, he said, they will occupy two lanes instead of one as an ‘escalation’ as they drive the minimum legal speed limit.
Brase noted that the group is coordinating with local law enforcement, while also acknowledging that ‘obviously there’s a natural disturbance.
‘We’re hoping one lap by two lanes, so we get back here sooner before rush hour or anything like that,’ he said, adding: ‘We do not want to impede traffic any more than necessary to get our message across.’
The People’s Convoy – a spinoff from a protest in Canada started by truckers upset at vaccine requirements to cross the Canadian border – traveled from southern California nearly 2,500 miles to D.C. on an 11-day journey. The group stopped in major U.S. cities and rural towns along they way, holding rallies and meeting with their supporters.
The People’s Convoy departed from the Hagerstown Speedway in Maryland on Sunday morning to convoy around the D.C. metropolitan area. The group is taking two loops around the Beltway, a 64-mile highway surrounding the capital city
The now 30-mile-long People’s Convoy circled the Washington DC Beltway on Sunday in protest of ‘unconstitutional’ coronavirus restrictions, such as mask and vaccine mandates
HAGERSTOWN, MARYLAND – MARCH 6: The convoy was met with cheers from supporters stationed on Beltway overpasses as the group traveled along the 64-mile highway
Brase told the Washington Post on Sunday that the group plans to stay at the Hagerstown Speedway until ‘at least’ Saturday, adding: ‘Hopefully this is all over by Wednesday.’
He mentioned meeting with ‘members of both the House and the Senate,’ but declined to answer questions about whether those meetings were actually confirmed and who they would meet with.
All as he said, according to the Washington Post, was: ‘I’m hopeful that we have successful dialogue with congressmen and women and senators that help get what we’re looking for pushed through in a timely fashion.