House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said thousands of National Guard troops deployed 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.
“We have to have what we need when we need it, and in the numbers that we need,” the California Democrat said in a news conference on March 4. She then deferred to Capitol Police leadership, saying “that’s a security decision,” not her’s.
“This issue of the National Guard is one that will be made by the Capitol Police, and the Police Board and the rest,” she added. “But I’m not in a position to respond to that [question]. But we should have them here as long as they are needed.”
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.
Pelosi, however, downplayed claims that the House changed its schedule and wouldn’t hold votes on March 4 due to an alleged threat.
“I don’t think anybody should take any encouragement that, because some trouble-makers might show up, that we changed our whole schedule,” Pelosi told reporters. “No, we just moved it a few hours, and it largely will accommodate the Republicans going to their own [conference].”
Separately, the Senate remained in session on March 4.
Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-Mich.), a member of the House Armed Services Committee and a former CIA official, wrote she had heard that National Guard members were asked by Capitol Police to extend their mission for 60 days. Capitol Police officials didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
“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,” Slotkin wrote on Twitter. “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.”
In recent days, Republican lawmakers have been critical of the continued deployment of the National Guard troops, while there have been bipartisan concerns about how Guard members have been treated in the nation’s capital. Earlier this week, the National Guard confirmed that some troops in Washington were served undercooked food.
“There have been no cases of food-borne illness reported. We’re working with our contractors to address concerns. We go to their places of business and spot-check meals for cooking temperature and overall quality. We examine the kitchens for safety and cleanliness. Vendor facilities have been inspected multiple times, and no substantial issues have been recorded. Contracting personnel visit the D.C. Armory daily during the delivery of meals. We observe the deliveries, take pictures of the meals and talk to soldiers on the line about the food they get,” Col. Robert Carver, director of the DC Joint Information Center, told The Epoch Times via email.