- The Washington Times - Wednesday, February 3, 2021

A Republican congressman said Wednesday that it’s time to tear down the fence that was hastily erected last month around the Capitol, saying it’s turned the seat of American democracy into a fortress more akin to a military base.

Rep. Ted Budd, in a commentary at Townhall.com, said the danger of another attack similar to the Jan. 6 assault has passed, President Biden is now in the White House, and there’s no similar threat still looming against lawmakers.

“We should not allow the tragic events of a single day to permanently alter the people’s access to the seat of our representative government,” the North Carolina congressman wrote.

The temporary fence was erected after Jan. 6, when Congress was attacked by a pro-Trump mob seeking to disrupt the counting of electoral votes that confirmed President Biden’s victory. Authorities feared a repeat in the run-up to the inauguration, and created the fence, and stationed troops along it.

The new acting chief for the U.S. Capitol Police said in recent days that the department believes the fence should be made permanent. Mr. Budd said that would be a “symbolic stain on our country.”

Opposition to a permanent fence is bipartisan, with some Democrats also saying they hope the Capitol complex can do without a barrier between them and the school groups, tourists and voters who stream through the grounds each day.

Mr. Budd said lawmakers will press the issue with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who this week said Congress will need to pass an emergency spending bill to create a safer environment at the Capitol.

“My House colleagues and I are willing to have an honest debate about providing the Capitol Hill Police with the resources they need to be better prepared without turning the Capitol into a permanent fortress,” Mr. Budd wrote.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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