Outer Perimeter Fencing of US Capitol Taken Down, but USCP Ready at ‘Moment’s Notice’

March 24, 2021 Updated: March 24, 2021

The U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) announced on March 24 that all fencing around the outer perimeter of the U.S. Capitol complex has been removed, as there is no credible threat at this time.

“Affected roads have reopened. The USCP is ready to quickly ramp up security at a moment’s notice if needed,” USCP wrote on Twitter.

The fencing closer to the Capitol Building, the inner perimeter, will remain in place, as will the National Guardsmen. USCP stated they are working with “congressional stakeholders and law enforcement partners to strengthen our security posture.”

Over the weekend, House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy P. Blodgett acknowledged that there was no “credible threat” that warranted the outer fencing.

Blodgett wrote in an email to staff that the inner layer of fencing will remain as the Architect of the Capitol makes security repairs, Roll Call reported.

The fencing and National Guard troops were utilized after the U.S. Capitol was breached on Jan. 6 during a joint session of Congress in which members were tasked with counting electoral votes to confirm the winner of the Nov. 3, 2020, presidential election.

The Electoral College vote certification process was temporarily halted, but after the Capitol was secured, members worked into the early morning hours to proclaim President Joe Biden the winner.

The FBI opened an investigation into the breach and has made hundreds of arrests in the wake of the incident. Both Republicans and Democrats condemned the violence and called for in-depth investigations into the breach.

Soon after the Jan. 6 breach, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called for an investigation like that of the 9/11 Commission. Talks with senior House Republicans about a bipartisan commission have all but ended.

Republican leaders said they object to the makeup and scope of the speaker’s proposed commission, which would consist of seven Democrats and four Republicans, with only the Democrat members having subpoena power.

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 12, 2014. With Republican control of the House and Senate tantalizingly close on Nov. 4, 2014, leading Republicans are turning to a matter often overlooked in campaigns: how to actually govern. "It's very possible to get a number of things done if the president is willing to come to the table, and I believe he will," says Portman. (AP Photo/File)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 12, 2014. (AP Photo/File)

Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, said any investigation like that of the 9/11 Commission would need to be fair.

Portman told reporters on Feb. 25: “Any commission that we established has to be nonpartisan not just bipartisan, in order to have legitimacy and be able to let the American people know what happened that horrible day and how to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

“If we’re going to do a commission, I hope it will include some outside experts, because that might be the advantage of a commission is to have some expertise from outside the Congress.”

Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said the speaker’s proposal for the commission was “partisan by design.”

Portman said various Senate committees are already probing what happened on Jan. 6, and he hopes House members will join the effort.

“But we already have that happening, at least here on the Senate, we actually reached out to the House to ask them to join us in this committee process we’re doing now, and they chose not to do that at this point, but I would hope they would join us, make it bicameral and bipartisan.”

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said while she supports Pelosi’s idea for the commission, she wants more immediate answers.

“I like the idea of a 9/11 commission, but we also want to have something intermediary here,” Klobuchar, chair of the Senate’s rules committee, which already has held a hearing on the matter, told Politico. “As I look at our officers on the front lines, they can’t wait a year for some suggestions about what we can do better.”

The speaker has recently indicated that the investigation would be done by three House committees: Administration, Appropriations, and Homeland Security (all chaired by democrats), instead of a bipartisan investigation like that of the 9/11 Commission.