The U.S. Capitol Police announced on Thursday that it has requested the Department of Defense to have the National Guard’s support at the Capitol extended beyond March 12.
The formal request came from Yogananda Pittman, the Capitol Police acting chief.
“The Department takes its mission seriously and will do whatever is necessary to achieve that mission,” an announcement from the Capitol Police reads. “The USCP is extremely grateful for the Department of Defense and the National Guard support provided since January 6th. We understand the Guard has a tremendous service need back home responding to the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a former Pentagon official and member of the House Armed Services Committee, announced on Twitter on Thursday, “I am hearing from contacts at the National Guard that the U.S. Capitol Police have asked for a 60-day extension of the Guard’s mission in and around the Capitol, and that the Guard is soliciting states to send contributions.”
“The current mission is scheduled to end on March 12, and the Michigan National Guard, along with many others, will get to return home,” she continued. “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.
“But 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. We all have the same goal: to get back to the point where Capitol Police is capable of protecting us without the Guard’s help, and all parties feel confident we can protect the people’s business.”
The Capitol Police did not immediately respond The Epoch Times’ request for comment on Slotkin’s statement.
Pittman on Wednesday told the House Legislative Branch Subcommittee in her prepared testimony (pdf) that threats to members have nearly doubled—up by 93.5 percent during the first two months of 2021, compared to 2020.
The department announced on Wednesday that it would step up its security measures on Capitol grounds owing to “concerning information and intelligence pertaining to March 4th.” In a later statement, the department said it had obtained intelligence that shows “a possible plot to breach the Capitol by an identified militia group on Thursday, March 4.”
Conspiracy theories were circulating on social media platforms prior to the day suggesting that former President Donald Trump would return as the president on Thursday to reclaim power.
Inauguration Day used to be March 4 under the U.S. Constitution, until the passage of the 20th Amendment in 1933, which moved the date to Jan. 20.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said on Thursday that the House moved its schedule “a few hours” on Thursday.
She also said that the National Guard troops at the U.S. Capitol may remain “as long as they are needed,” following a report that said the Capitol Police requested the Guard to stay in place for two more months.
Thousands of National Guard members remain stationed at the Capitol. They were deployed after the Jan. 6 Capitol breach, and more than 20,000 were reportedly on hand during the Jan. 20 inauguration of President Joe Biden.
At the same time, officials also set up a non-scalable fence topped with razor wire around the Capitol facility.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of the article wrongly stated the time frame for the Capitol police’s extension request. The Capitol Police has requested an extension of troops for beyond March 12. The Epoch Times regrets the error.