House Republicans Seek Briefing on Continued Guard Presence in DC

January 27, 2021 Updated: January 27, 2021

Republican House members are seeking an explanation as to why the National Guard will keep at least 5,000 troops in Washington until mid-March, as requested by the U.S. Capitol Police.

Rep. Michael Waltz (R-Fla.) submitted a letter along with 11 other House Republicans to Acting Secretary of the Army John E. Whitley requesting a briefing on the deployment.

“We would like to request a briefing on the threat assessments and all relevant intelligence regarding the U.S. Capitol Complex,” the letter reads.

“Our intention is for the briefing to cover the ongoing threats to the Capitol, justification of the decision for a significant troop presence through mid-March, and plans for troop utilization during the time period.”

“As you know better than anyone, our National Guard men and women are deployed on short notice and pulled away from their families and jobs,” the letter states.

“Further, the Guard has endured unprecedented stress on the force in the past year given COVID-19, social unrest, natural disasters, and ongoing overseas requirements. The National Guard should be used as an option of absolute last resort. We are seeking clarification and justification on behalf of the National Guard men and women that have kept us safe over the past month and year,” the request states.

More than 20,000 National Guard troops were sent to Washington following the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and ahead of President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

At least 5,000 National Guard members will remain in the city through mid-March, a spokesman for the agency confirmed.

“As we continue to work to meet the final post-inauguration requirements, the National Guard has been requested to continue supporting federal law enforcement agencies with 7,000 members and will draw down to 5,000 through mid-March,” Maj. Matt Murphy told The Epoch Times in an email.

“We are providing assistance such as security, communications, medical evacuation, logistics, and safety support to state, district, and federal agencies.”

The U.S. Army didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.

On Jan. 21, 5,000 troops were reportedly suddenly ordered to vacate the Capitol to take their rest during their shifts in a nearby parking lot with no internet reception, a single electrical outlet, and one bathroom, as temperatures dropped to the low 40s at night.

The move provoked sharp criticism from lawmakers of both parties.

Zachary Steiber contributed to this report.