House of Representatives Shut Down
Congressional leaders ordered an unprecedented shutdown of the House of Representatives on Wednesday after more than 30 people in Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle's office tested positive for exposure to a highly concentrated form of anthrax. Legislators said that they would remain at work, despite the scare and an announcement from Speaker Dennis Hastert that anthrax had been found in the Senate's mailroom and had gotten "into the ventilation system." The Senate decided to remain open for business. The decision by the House prompted the New York Post to label House leaders Dick Gephardt (D-Mo.) and Dennis Hastert (R.-Ill.) "WIMPS" on its front page. In New York, the disease has also been discovered in Gov. George Pataki's Manhattan office, the governor said Wednesday. The anthrax was found in a room used by his State Police security detail, he said. The two-floor suite has been closed for further testing and decontamination. Pataki, who confirmed on the "Today" show Thursday morning that he is taking the antibiotic Cipro (despite not having tested positive for anthrax), said that the offices would reopen Monday. "It's an effort to scare us, to threaten us," Pataki said about the current fear of anthrax. "And we shouldn't let that happen."
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