GOP lawmaker proposes removing ‘Members Only’ signs from Capitol
© Greg Nash

A freshman House Republican is calling for the removal of signs restricting facilities in the Capitol complex to members of Congress.

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Pa.) has introduced legislation to take away the “Members Only” signs that have for years designated certain elevators, meeting rooms, stairwells and bathrooms in the Capitol for lawmakers.

The bathrooms immediately off the House and Senate floors, for instance, can only be used by members of Congress. It’s a setup similar to common practice at schools and universities where the students and teachers use different bathrooms.

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Elevators near both chambers are also set aside for lawmakers rushing to votes. But they can otherwise be used by the general public at any time.

Moreover, the elevator customs are typically not enforced. It’s not unusual to see staffers board at the same time as lawmakers.

But Fitzpatrick said he was “disgusted” by the signs during his first four weeks serving in Congress.

“Even little things like this highlight why too many Americans feel left out. They see a system that does more to preserve the status quo than it does solving our most pressing challenges, and a class of career politicians and elite insiders who see themselves as a separate class than their constituents. That mindset needs to stop — and I will do anything I can to end it,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement on Thursday.

Fitzpatrick’s resolution would apply just to the House wing of the Capitol and surrounding office buildings. Only the Senate would have the power to make the same changes on its side.