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tv   Capitol Dome Restoration Tour  CSPAN  January 6, 2014 12:00am-12:26am EST

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unemployment benefits as well. senators are considering a three-month extension. senatorsf democratic held a conference call with reporters to discuss the possible extension. here is what new york senator charles schumer had to say. >> i think that it will have an effect and hurt their chances in the 2014 elections. plates beneath our politics have shifted over the last several years. the first five years of president obama's term the two biggest issues were the deficit and obamacare. not anymore. it is middle-class incomes, creation of jobs, getting the economy going at a better rate than it has been going. if republicans blocked this renewal it is going to play some far out of the mainstream in
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terms of fighting for average folks and the middle class. if the first issue that we bring forward in 2014 our colleagues on the other side of the aisle are not siding with average families, it is going to be a strong indication where the republicans are headed. when i say out of the the last time this round of benefits was renewed it was under president bush, a republican president. in employment was only 5.6% nationally, it is now seven. that only shows you in the past it has been a bipartisan issue that has supported mainstream republicans like george bush and to not have it now would show ourn how far over colleagues are moving. second issue. pay force.out
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i have a suggestion that most of us would support. it would be to eliminate the tax break that gives corporations a benefit for shipping jobs overseas. we could say for you i've for ,hese months during that increased jobs here and decrease unemployment at the same point as helping our colleagues. the final point i would make is this. many of our republican colleagues say oh, unemployment benefits prevent people from working. that is insulting. to the american worker. the american worker wants to work. is a great deal of pride in work. you don't have to be the ceo of the company are a physicist or an artist or musician to experience that pride in work. average folks have pride in the work to do whether it is keeping
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the floors of a university clean or delivering things properly on time and all the way up the line. , who i was on a television show with earlier says that he thinks that areployment benefits insulting, almost. the word he used was, can't remember the word he used, but he said that it is bad for american workers. >> another senator discussed the possibility of extending unemployment benefits senator rand paul of kentucky was on abc's "this week. with regard to unemployment insurance, i've always said i'm not imposed -- i'm not opposed to it, i'm opposed to having it without paying for it. i am opposed to borrowing money from china to pay for it. i do think that the longer you
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have at the longer it provides some disincentive to work. there are many studies that indicate this. what i've been saying all along as we have to figure out how to create jobs and keep people from becoming long-term unemployed. is why i supported the economic free zones. >> are you saying that if this extension is paid for that you can supported? >> what i've always said is that it needs to be paid for, but we also need to do something for long-term unemployed people. that is create something new that would create jobs. but i would like to do when we get back is one, if we extended we pay for it. but too, if we pay for it than we do something that will create jobs. any area that has unemployment 1.5 times the national average we would dramatically lower taxes to try to spur and stimulate the economy there and create jobs. >> c-span, we bring public affairs offense from washington
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directly to you, putting you in the room at congressional hearings, white house events, briefings and conferences and offer a complete gavel-to-gavel coverage of the house, all as a public service of private industry. we are c-span, created by the cable tv industry 34 years ago and funded by your local cable or satellite provider. now you can watch us in hd. >> the capitol dome is currently undergoing a two-year restoration to fix more than 1000 cracks in its cast-iron shell. the kevin hildebrand from the u.s. capitol architect's office explains what will happen during the restoration process. he spoke while giving washington area reporters a tour of the dome. this is 30 minutes. >> this circular staircase was the original way to the first capitol dome and continues to be the way we get to the walter dome. it was built in 1826. the original staircase that was
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here was wooden and it was removed in i want to say 1851 when there was a fire in the library of congress and for fear that the fire would spread to the wooden dome they cut it out and when walter did his changes he inserted the cast iron staircase that you see today. during the construction when they were dismantling the original stone they weigh the -- they weighed every piece as it was coming down so they could verify what the difference between the old and new dome was. it turned out that i think the old dome was just under 12 million pounds. so, given how much larger the walter dome is, the fact that it is only 20% more weight is pretty amazing. and it speaks to the nature of cast iron and the ability to build this large structure with
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relatively little weight. to me, it is the merger of technology and the time period that allowed this to be built. >> [inaudible]? could you describe why cast iron and why that has suffered from problems over time? >> i think walter's intent was to make it look like masonry. he didn't intend for this to be a modern structure. he intended it to be appropriate to the rest of the capitol design. but, because of weight it could not have been built in masonry. walter had just finished several years earlier the library of congress renovation in the capitol where once it will been -- where once it had been destroyed by fire he went in with fireproof interior structure which was made of very elaborate cast iron. in building that, he proved the resilience and economy of cast iron where you can make multiple
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elaborate pieces from a single mold and was able to then create this dome without an extensive cost and with enough lightweight aspects that it was possible. >> [inaudible]? >> the existing foundations would not have supported a structure so i don't think it was calculated to what it would have been. needless to say it would have been considerably higher than the 14 million pounds that the dome in masonry additions were that was ultimately built. i would like to point out to hear that the walls that you are leaning against are the original bullfinch drum for the original dome of the capitol. so everything he added was above
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the cornice level at this edge. so this would have originally been exposed to view from the east and west front. and you can see overhead how the brackets extend out to pick up the columns of the peristyle. half the columns are drainage columns and the other half are ventilation columns. it would have been very odd to leave that cantilevered condition exposed to view so he created a skirt of iron work that makes that transition from the cantilevered skirt out to the rest of the roof of the capital. you can see the great condition we have been able to achieve with the restoration at this point. the skirt has been completely restored. lead-based paints were abated. iron work was repaired and new paint installed.
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in addition to that, we cleaned and conserved and repainted the original bullfinch stone walls and this ring of masonry that is seven feet thick that is the foundation for the iron work that extends above. so, these brackets, we only see eight feet of them now. there is an additional seven feet embedded in the masonry work and that acts as a huge foundation that supports the weight of the dome and transfers it evenly on to the stone walls below. here you get a good sense for the bracket cantilever beyond the old stone walls of the bullfinch drum and how alternating columns are used for drainage columns and others just provide passive ventilation. you will see here on my right, your left, you see how when it was installed some of the chimneys of the capitol
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were captured within that footprint and he used the hollow columns as a way to get that smoke exhaust out. i have seen a couple of photographs where he had the smoke billowing out at the ballot stride at the -- at the balustrade at the boilerplate level and it is the chimney smoke that is coming out. you can begin to really appreciate the beauty of the rotunda and the accomplishment of adding this additional height to the space. now, the actual interior dome is not much larger than what bullfinch would have had but his dome would have rested on the stone work below where you see a projecting cornice and band of stone just above it. that is where the original dome would have sprung. so, we are now almost at the apex of where the bullfinch dome
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would have ended and walters would have lifted that on additional drums to give height and light into the rotunda. here, everything above the sand stone is what was added as part of walters' addition. from the top of the sand stone to the balustrade is predominantly masonry with some cast iron elements. the coffers are cast iron and cornice below the freeze is cast-iron -- the cornice below frieze is cast iron but everything else is masonry with a plaster coating. >> we are about -- we are in the range of i would say close to 100 feet.
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at this level you can appreciate the frieze and what was envisioned for the space. he didn't start painting it until 1870 and managed to get about three-quarters of the way around before his death in 1880. the artist envisioned completing the entire work, but his early death precluded him from finishing it. the work was picked up based on the sketches and carried it forward to the california gold rush. once you get to the california gold rush his work ends and alan cox's work continues to include the civil war and the birth of flight, which then takes us back
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to the discovery of america by christopher columbus. as you look across the rotunda, you can see evidence of some water leaks that have occurred over time. the streaking below the lowest band of ornamentation on the coffer dome, some of the staining on the sides of the pilasters, you will see evidence on top of the balustrade below of past water intrusions. there were multiple tears of gas tiers of gas jets one before the cornice where you see light fixtures. one at the base of the balustrade work where you see the remnants of an earlier lighting scheme, the conduit with sockets. there was a string of lights at the base of the cupola and there
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were over 1,000 gas jets that would illuminate with the quick -- with the click of a switch from a battery in the lower level of the capital. so you can imagine at night it must have been quite a dramatic effect to see this all illuminate at once. of course, as electricity was introduced to the building in the turn of the 20th century those gas fixtures were replaced with electrical lighting and now we are using a more modern system to illuminate the rotunda. one of theegs, engineers for the project had all of the lower level pieces stamped with his name. so you look at some of the nuts and bolts it will say that. >> does he take credit for it? >> i'm sure you heard about the controversy between two
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competing egos, walter being a great architect and meigs a phenomenal engineer. they wanted to both have credit for creating the dome and without either of them it couldn't have happened but it was the merging of their talents that allowed it to come into being. >> it was a perfect building to deal with egos. >> exactly. let me show you this. we are passing through the boilerplate plenum. we are at the top of the balcony that we don't open to the public because it is fairly large and hard to control groups on. but it does offer us an opportunity to really show you graphically how thin the cast iron shell of the dome really is.
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i will lift this copper which you can see. the exterior and interior that you can see from the rotunda floor. ironically, this is also how you would get outside to change the light fixtures on that cornice. we don't do that any more thanks to modern lighting technology we don't get out there. but it is always impressive to me to look through this thin layer and see for the first time just how the dome is constructed. let me know when you are done and i will close it. >> how heavy is that? >> very. and it is supported mostly by the hinge. i'm just lifting it a little. please be very careful as you come through the next run of stairs. there is a window that sets into
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the staircase a bit and you need to watch your shoulder. you can also begin to appreciate here the structure and design of the dome. these enormous rib trusses, 36 in total that great a conical conicalcreate a structural system for the dome and then there are these outriggers that will up and pick up the exterior skin. notice, the interior shell is not matching and aligning with the super structure that is suspended from it and the exterior shell is projecting beyond it. keep in mind when the dome was finished this wall would not have been here. this wall and windows were added
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in the 1940's when air conditioning was introduced into the capitol. so, that is why you have the second railing on the interior side. people wonder why does this balcony need two railings. you would have had the view on the back side that would have allowed more light to come through into this balcony level. we are a considerable distance apart. you should be able to hear me pretty clearly. i think this is an amazing space. you have to be very careful what you are saying when you are up here because anyone on the often -- on the opposite side can hear you. >> [inaudible]? >> 12 of these windows will be removed. if you look above the pavilion that we entered through there is a bracket that extends out. during an earlier phase we left that bracket in place to be used as a lifting hoist for the other
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11 brackets that will be lifted to this area. so the 12 brackets will extend out over this railing and a catenary netting system will be suspended over the rotunda. the purpose of that netting is twofold. it provides protection to the visitors so the rotunda can remain open while we do our work. but it then has a decorative drapery on the under side so it looks appropriate for the capitol for ceremonial events that could occur or for the visitors visiting the capitol. we didn't want it to look like a -- an industrial safety netting. >> [inaudible]?
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>> rather than replacing it we will be repairing it with an epoque see system m much like youte would repair a windshield on your car if you had a crack. you use a heat and vacuum to infuse it with a binder that seals the joint. our goal is to preserve as much of the original material as possible. that is why the lock and stitch technique that we are using to stitch the original pieces back together is so important to our restoration efforts because we. wants to save as much of the historic artifact as we can. >> are there any examples of the lock and stitch? >> unfortunately all of them completed as part of the skirt project have been overpainted. that is the beauty is you don't see them they are complete. but notice that we're now over the painting and there is a tin canopy on top acting as an umbrella to ensure if there is a
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leak in the exterior skin it is caught and drained away so it doesn't affect the painting. now we are at the tallest level. we will go out it door. please be careful when you go through this doorway t. is very low. be very mindful that the iron is very hard and 9 last thing you want to do is hit your head on this. so, please be very careful and duck as you go through the doorway. the genius of the radial scheme and how the capitol is the focal point of washington is so clear when you are standing at this point. the access of the mall, maryland avenue, pennsylvania avenue, all
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radiating from this central point. just the beauty of the city opens before you when you stand at this level. if you look at the top plate there are a series of through bolts that hold the railing together. they go through the ballusters. as rust has developed and the railing is pushed up the top plate has cracked and that is relieving the stress in the iron work. what it also does is compromise the structural integrity of that particular piece. we are not concerned about it because there is so much redundancy in the iron work design but we put it here as a measure to ensure that until this work is repaired during this phase we don't have any issue with any forces against
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the railing. to me it is symbolic of the joining of both parties in congress to come together to fund an effort that is incredibly important to our country. preserving the capitol dome is not a question for discussion. it is something that has to happen. there is no more recognizable symbol of the country than the capitol dome or our national flag. >> like raising the debt ceiling. >> exactly. i won't go there. it is another good example of the thinness of the shell. if you can get an image of this, i think it tells people how the structure works, the exterior skin of the dome and cast ironworks. >> if you put your hand there it
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would give you a sense of that. i can tell you that i removed >> 180,000 pounds of lead based paint from the attic during our first phase so i know it shouldn't weigh more than the amount of lead paint already taken off. just as when you came out watch your head as you come through this doorway. >> that is the convene light that is on at night when the congress is in session, the convene light. it is four bulbs. there is another interstitial space that is a hollow cavity below the statue base then the statue above that. as you see, no person is permitted above this platform under any circumstance

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