Capitol Police Don't Have a Timeline For Removing the National Guard or Capitol Fencing, Senators Say

Connor Grant | February 25, 2021
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Senators say they received no clear timeline for the removal of the National Guard troops in D.C. and the fence surrounding the Capitol during a security briefing on Wednesday. 

According to reports, little to no new information on Capitol security was given during a Zoom call between acting Capitol Police Chief Yogonda Pittman, acting Sergeant at arms Jennifer Hemingway and the Senators.

Following the briefing, Senator Tim Kaine (D-Va.) said he believes there should be a timeline on security measures.

"What I didn't hear on the call was, obviously everything depends on conditions, but I think there should be sort of a general plan of, 'We think we'll come back to some normal by X day and if circumstances change we'll have to change,'" Said Kaine. 

When asked if senators received any time guidance, Kaine responded, “Not that they were saying to us." 

Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said “numerous senators expressed concern” about the lack of indication of when the Capitol fence will come down.

"You know there's a fair bit of, I think, anxiety and frustration with the infrastructure around here. How long is it going to last," said Senator Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.).  

Related: 'They Aren't Nancy Pelosi's Servants:' Gov. DeSantis Orders Florida Nat'l Guard Troops Home

Top Republican on the Armed Services Committee, Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), expressed his opposition to the National Guard’s continued presence stating, "I can tell you what I said, I said there’s got to be an end to this thing. And I haven’t heard anything in the presentation that leads me to believe there’s going to be an end, or that there’s really justification. That’s not the Guard’s function. That’s not what they do for a living. And they can’t continue to do that."

Senator Richard Burr (R-N.C.) told reporters, "there's nothing they could have said at that security briefing that would justify having fences and barbed wire…That is a bunch of malarkey. They ought to tear these fences down and send them home today,"

The Capitol fence was created and the National Guard was deployed in D.C. following the Capitol riot on January 6. Security measures were increased in preparation for Joe Biden’s inauguration on January 20. This week the Pentagon reported that there are 5,279 troops still stationed at the Capitol.

Last week the Associated Press reported that Capitol Police officials were suggesting that the fence remain in place around the Capitol until September 30 due to an increase in threats against lawmakers, an issue that was addressed in the virtual briefing. 

On the subject of increased threats against lawmakers Senator Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii) stated, “One of the things that certainly caught my attention was that targeting individual members has gone up 90%. Threats against individual members has gone up 90%, that got my attention."

 

H/T The Hill

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