Tags: capitol | security | fence | blodgett | national guard

Capitol Outer Fencing to Be Removed This Weekend

Capitol Outer Fencing to Be Removed This Weekend
The U.S. Capitol behind temporary security fencing, as security installations made after the Jan. 6 riot are pared back this week, in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, March 16, 2021.  (Graeme Sloan/Sipa USA)(Sipa via AP Images)

By    |   Saturday, 20 March 2021 11:38 AM

De-escalation of the security perimeter around the Capitol will continue this weekend with the removal of the outer fence surrounding the complex.

Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy P. Blodgett emailed Congressional members and staff to say Independence and Constitution avenues will be open for traffic by Monday, per Roll Call.

The inner layer of fencing will remain around the Capitol Square area while the Architect of the Capitol makes security repairs to the building.

Capitol Police reported "there does not exist a known, credible threat against Congress or the Capitol Complex that warrants the temporary security fencing," Blodgett said in his email.

Police and the AOC began scaling back the fencing earlier in the week. As of late Friday, razor wire had been removed from both outer and inner fences, and the latter was moved closer to the Capitol.

Blodgett used his email to outline access to streets around the complex, the garages, and the office buildings.

Hard perimeter of fencing began going up Jan. 7, the day after demonstrators protesting the election results violently stormed the Capitol.

Besides the fencing, the National Guard is drawing down troops from nearly 5,000 to 2,280, the number currently authorized through May 23.

Thousands of National Guard troops had been deployed to support the security mission in Washington following the Capitol riot.

"[The Guard] will continue to maintain a presence to support our increased security posture although their presence has been modified to support a reduced perimeter," Blodgett said.

Blodgett said Capitol Police will "continue to monitor the threat posture, [and] should a change occur, plans will be reevaluated."

Lawmakers in both major parties have raised objections about the temporary fencing at the Capitol, and the continued deployment of the National Guard troops on the grounds.

Bloomberg reported Congressional leaders are putting together a $2 billion special funding bill to strengthen security at the Capitol, according to multiple people familiar with the plan.

The security measures were expected to include some type of permanent fencing, additional Capitol Police officers, improved emergency communications and weaponry, as well as enhanced protections for lawmakers.

On Tuesday, Rep. Greg Murphy, R-N.C., presented a bill that would move 95% of the members of the National Guard currently guarding the Capitol to the Southern border, where a crisis has developed due to thousands of migrants seeking entrance into the U.S.

"Keeping the National Guard in D.C. is a misdirection of their mission purposed by political posturing and a complete waste of taxpayer money," Murphy said. "If our men and women in the National Guard are going to be deployed to provide assistance with a domestic issue, then the real issue is at our southern border and not in D.C. Congress should direct them immediately to help secure our border and provide humanitarian aid to those in custody."

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De-escalation of the security perimeter around the Capitol will continue this weekend with the removal of the outer fence surrounding the complex...
capitol, security, fence, blodgett, national guard
Saturday, 20 March 2021 11:38 AM
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