Task force briefs lawmakers on Capitol security 2 months after riot

Washington

WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Two months after the Jan. 6 riot in Washington, D.C., officials at the U.S. Capitol are continuing to look at ways to keep lawmakers, staff and the surrounding community safe.

“When will we be able to feel safe?” Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington, wondered.

A task force on Monday briefed a bipartisan group of lawmakers on changes they think will help. The force, assigned to examine Capitol security following the Jan. 6 attack, started outlining its finding after six weeks of review.

The group wrote, “today’s threats are not only more numerous but increasingly come from domestic elements.” It also found the ability of the United States Capitol Police to track and plan for the threats was limited due to training and manpower.

“We are quite far behind in what we need,” Rep. Jayapal said.

Changes were recommended Monday from the inside out, starting with the replacing the current temporary fencing with mobile fencing that can easily be put in place when needed. Allison Cunningham, one of the organizers of “Don’t Fence the Capitol,” says the current system is affecting the Capitol Hill neighborhood by blocking roadways and scaring away tourists.

“We should have a modern security response,” Cunningham said.

Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., agreed, saying, “I really love the idea that Americans can come and see the halls of Congress.”

Warner is joining a bipartisan group of lawmakers who say the fence needs to come down while maintaining security.

“The threat of domestic, violent extremists is real,” Warner said. “It didn’t start on Jan. 6. It didn’t start with Donald Trump.”

If approved, the recommendations made by the task force could take some time to be implemented. This past week, the Capitol Police asked the National Guard to stay on for another two months.

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