Pittman’s letter to congressional leaders included a “white paper” from the Capitol Police Board that outlined potential security enhancements at the Capitol. But Pittman said it wasn’t clear to her whether they were “mandates or recommendations,” and whether the document “represents the opinions of the entire Board.”
It states that the National Guard is requesting up to 2,200 troops to remain at the Capitol beyond March 12.
A Department of Homeland Security intelligence bulletin issued on Tuesday noted that extremists have eyed May 20 as another date for an attempted attack.
Lawmakers were already grappling with the collective stress and political questions raised by the significant gaps in Capitol security that were exposed when insurrectionists supportive of Trump stormed the building on Jan. 6.
“It’s going to take more money to protect the Capitol in a way that enables people in a way to come here, children to come and see our democracy in action, all of you to cover what happens here safely, members to be comfortable that they are safe,” Pelosi said at her Thursday press conference.
Indefinitely extending the National Guard’s stay is likely to become a flashpoint on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers — primarily Republicans — have demanded that leaders scale back the intensive security measures imposed after the Jan. 6 assault. Lawmakers from both parties have demanded briefings on the security threats to the Capitol.
“No one likes seeing the fortress-like security around the Capitol. And no one wants to again have a security problem in and around this symbolic place,” Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former intelligence analyst, said Thursday morning. “Whether an extension has been requested or the mission is indeed terminating on March 12, it’s critical that members of Congress get a briefing on what’s behind these decisions.”
Pelosi said she hoped that retired Lt. Gen Russel Honoré — whom she’s tasked with a review of Capitol security measures — will be able to present his draft recommendations to the full House next week.
“With all the president’s men out there, we have to ensure with our security that we are safe enough to do our job,” Pelosi said, referring to Trump supporters who stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
Blunt said he has been in touch with Honoré, and said it was his impression that Honoré prefers to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol for “quite a while longer.”