Lawmakers from both sides criticize the Pentagon over its decision to station the National Guard at the Capitol until May
- Lawmakers are asking the Pentagon why it plans to keep guardsmen at the Capitol for two more months.
- The Pentagon approved a request by Capitol Police to have the National Guard stay in DC until May.
- Lawmakers from both parties said the ongoing security would cost money and is “overdone.”
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From across the political spectrum, lawmakers are criticizing the Pentagon’s recent decision to keep National Guard troops at the Capitol complex for another two months.
Earlier this week, Pentagon officials approved Capitol Police’s request to keep nearly 2,300 guardsmen in the nation’s capital until May 23. The additional two months will cost $111 million, according to The Hill.
But lawmakers in both parties are questioning why the continued heavy military presence is needed and are calling for more details from the Capitol Police, who have not yet spoken on the matter.
The House Armed Services Committee leaders from both parties on Thursday called for a drawdown, saying they were “deeply troubled” by the measures that are still in place, The Hill reported.
The Capitol is currently surrounded by a fence with razor wire, preventing the public from entering the grounds.
“We cannot ignore the financial costs associated with this prolonged deployment, nor can we turn a blind eye to the effects it will soon have on the National Guard’s overall readiness,” Rep. Mike Rogers, and Chairman Adam Smith, who is a Democrat, said in a joint statement.
The National Guard Bureau told The Hill on Friday: “The Guard’s additional two months will cost $111 million while the initial three months of the mission, from January to March, will cost an estimated $410 million.”
Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell also called the security presence “overdone” and said there had been no serious threats against the Capitol.
“I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol. With all this razor wire around the complex, it reminds me of my last visit to Kabul,” McConnell said earlier this week, according to Politico.
“Do we need some changes? We probably do,” McConnell added. “But it looks terrible to have the beacon of our democracy surrounded by razor wire.”
The National Guard moved into the Capitol following the January 6 insurrection, which resulted in five people’s deaths.
They were meant to stay up until President Joe Biden’s inauguration in January, but their deployment was extended after security officials became concerned about extremists who had become inspired by QAnon to take over the Capitol once more on March 4.
Some QAnon followers believed March 4 would be the day Former President Trump would be inaugurated again.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby told reporters on Thursday: “I don’t think anybody wants to see this become an enduring mission,” The Washington Post reported.
Kirby would not specify what threats had been relayed from the Capitol Police.
More than 300 insurrectionists who stormed the Capitol have already been charged so far.
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