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Part of U.S. Capitol closed to probe asbestos incident: officials

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Parts of the U.S. Capitol were closed early on Thursday while authorities investigated a possible asbestos release, delaying the start of the House of Representatives session and canceling some tours of the building.

U.S. Capitol Police said an "industrial spill" had occurred. Later, a spokeswoman for the Architect of the Capitol said there was a potential release during ongoing asbestos removal on the House side of the Capitol.

Spokeswoman Laura Condeluci said samples were being collected to determine if there was potential harmful exposure in the incident that occurred overnight.

House Republican leadership aides said the House chamber will open, but it will come into session at noon, two hours later than planned. The delay will not have an impact on any House votes, according to the aide.

The House is scheduled to debate a bill to fund Department of Energy programs for next year.

(Reporting By Richard Cowan; Editing by Doina Chiacu)