A panel appointed by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré to review Capitol security measures is recommending – among other things – to step up the police presence and erect mobile fencing around the building, Axios reported citing sources.
According to sources familiar with the report, the panel’s recommendations include expanding the Capitol Police force by 1,100 as well as establishing a “Quick Reaction Force” to assist with responding to emergencies in the Capitol region to replace the National Guard presence.
The report also recommends mobile or retractable fencing around the Capitol and members' office buildings.
On Monday Russel Honoré and panel member are expected to brief Congress on the recommendations.
The measures come amid rumours of possible riots in March following the 6 January capitol protests. The National Guard was deployed as a result in Washington DC, primarily tasked with ensuring calm during Biden's inauguration ceremony.
House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith said last month that thousands of National Guard troops would stay in Washington, DC in early March amid the rumours.
Recently, Acting House sergeant-at-Arms Timothy P. Blodgett said in an internal memo that his office was working with US Capitol Police to “monitor information related to 4 March, potential protests and demonstration activity surrounding what some have described as the 'true Inauguration Day.'"
He noted that Capitol Police had "no indication that groups will travel to Washington DC to protest or commit acts of violence."
On 6 January, a "Stop the Steal" rally in support of then-US President Donald Trump morphed into protests. Some demonstrators stormed the Capitol, disrupting the certification of Electoral College votes. Five people died as a result of the riot and more than 250 were arrested.
Trump, who called on supporters to oppose Joe Biden's nomination "peacefully" during the rally, was impeached by the House of Representatives for "inciting insurrection" but acquitted by the Senate, which voted only 57-43 in favour of the measure, short of the 2/3 majority needed to convict him. Trump has repeatedly denied responsibility for the protests, stressing that his remarks were "totally appropriate."