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Congress shutdown was not necessary, Strickland says

WASHINGTON – In response to the recent Anthrax scare in Washington, Congress decided to close shop one day early last week, a decision Congressman Ted Strickland called premature.

Monday, October 22, 2001

WASHINGTON – In response to the recent Anthrax scare in Washington, Congress decided to close shop one day early last week, a decision Congressman Ted Strickland called premature.

"I think it was unnecessary," Strickland said. "I don’t want to make a bigger event than it was…it sends the wrong message."

Strickland said closing Congress on Wednesday instead of Thursday "conveyed a sense of panic."

He said he would have rather stayed in Washington, "completed our work as previously scheduled" instead of "closing up shop and getting out of town." Strickland said he would not have opposed sending his staff members home, but elected officials should have remained to finish the week’s work.

Strickland added, "Congress cannot allow terrorists to interfere with the need to move forward on the pressing domestic and national security issues. Americans can rest assure that the House will reconvene on Tuesday, and it is my hope that we will go directly to work on legislation that will make it safe for people to fly again, give law enforcement agencies the tools they need to fight this war on the domestic front, and make that our military men and women have available resources at their command to fight this war overseas."

Strickland said "as far as we know, no House office has been affected." He said his office was asked to leave things as was and not to remove anything." Strickland said he wanted to remind his constituents that mail has not been delivered to the office for about two weeks because of increased security and screening measures.

Although he’s not hashing it out on the Hill, Strickland said he hasn’t taken a break. He said the closing hasn’t "slowed me down any," taking the time off from Congress to visit district offices over the weekend.