Several House Republicans say one of the first orders of business if they regain a majority in 2022 will be to take down the security barrier surrounding the Capitol.
The massive fence, erected after rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6, remains standing. Ten members of Congress told the Washington Free Beacon that the barricade serves no purpose, citing a lack of threats since Jan. 6, and that they would push for its removal.
"Republicans will do everything in their power to ensure the permanent fencing comes down," Rep. Ralph Norman (R., S.C.) told the Free Beacon. Norman noted that a Republican House would coordinate with the Capitol Police, who play a major role in determining what security measures are needed.
Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) said the fence remains standing not for security but for Democrats to send the message that the Capitol remains under siege from Republicans.
"The fencing around the Capitol right now is not about security, it's about props, politics and power," Zeldin said. "Democrats want to push a narrative to associate all Republican voters with the events of January 6th and use it to their political advantage. The fencing should come down and the Capitol should be reopened to the public."
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D., Calif.) created a task force led by retired lieutenant general Russell Honoré to review Capitol security. Its report acknowledged that the fence around the Capitol does not present an insurmountable barrier or prevent penetration of the Capitol. The Capitol Police inspector general said the riot got out of hand due to a lack of preparation, not a lack of a security fence. Neither the Capitol Police nor Honoré responded to Free Beacon requests for comment.
Rep. Ted Budd (R., N.C.) said the fencing is an unnecessary security measure.
"There is no excuse for continuing this indefinite fencing," Budd said. "We can secure the safety of the U.S. Capitol complex without turning it into a permanent fortress."
Several members told the Free Beacon that the barriers send the wrong message to Americans. "This is the People's House," said Rep. Clay Higgins (R., La.). "Congress should be accessible to the citizens we serve, as our Founders intended."