WASHINGTON — The remaining metal fencing around the Capitol will begin to be removed Friday evening, according to a memo from House Sergeant at Arms William Walker. The fencing has been in place for over six months, since the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Here’s what the press office of each Wisconsin congressional delegation member had to say on the move:
Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Oshkosh):
“The fencing around the Capitol should have been removed the day after inauguration. It was kept in place to perpetuate a false political narrative that the 75 million Americans who voted for President Trump are suspected domestic terrorists that the people’s house needed to be protected against. What the fencing did prove is that Democrats actually believe barriers work. As a result, we should complete the 250 miles of wall on the southwest border that has already been bought and paid for.”
Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Madison):
“Senate Republicans need to join bipartisan negotiations on legislation that addresses urgent security needs at the Capitol. They seem to want to forget about the January 6 insurrection, but this attack on our democracy should never be forgotten and we need to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”
Rep. Bryan Steil (R-Janesville):
“It’s long overdue for the United States Capitol to return to work. Not only should the fencing come down, but pandemic-related practices like proxy voting and virtual hearings should also come to an end. Speaker Pelosi should reopen the People’s House—the United States Capitol—for families, students, and visitors. As a member of the Committee on House Administration, I’m regularly engaged on oversight of Capitol procedures and security. I’m pleased to see that the fencing is coming down.”
Rep. Mark Pocan (D-Black Earth):
Rep. Pocan’s office did not provide comment.
Rep. Ron Kind (D-La Crosse):
“During the insurrection on January 6, the U.S. Capitol Police responded with outstanding bravery. Their heroism and service to our nation on that dark day will never be forgotten. I fully trust the judgment of the U.S. Capitol Police to continue to keep Members of Congress, staff, and visitors safe. Six months later, we still have work to do to get to the bottom of what happened that day and ensure Americans get the answers they deserve. That’s why I supported legislation to thoroughly investigate the events of January 6 and ensure truth and transparency.”
Rep. Gwen Moore (D-Milwaukee):
“First, the U.S. Capitol is the People’s House and I love that Americans can tour it and approach it so I’m not a fan of the fencing. However, I can’t ignore the ongoing threat that right-wing conspiracies continue to pose to my colleagues and the many staffers who work on the grounds.
“I will fully support the House’s January 6th Select Committee. We need to find the truth to prevent another attack on our country – wherever it leads. My Republican colleagues, including Senator Ron Johnson, don’t want to protect our democracy and would rather downplay what happened to avoid the truth, avoid consequences, and continue spouting delusions and the Big Lie.”
Rep. Scott Fitzgerald (R-Juneau):
Rep. Fitzgerald’s office did not provide comment.
Rep. Glenn Grothman (R-Glenbeulah):
Rep. Grothman’s office did not provide comment.
Rep. Tom Tiffany (R-Minocqua):
Rep. Tiffany’s office did not provide comment.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Green Bay):
Rep. Gallagher’s office provided a March 9 letter addressed to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signed by Rep. Gallagher and 16 other House members. The letter reads, in part:
“Two months after the abhorrent violence that occurred in the United States Capitol on January 6th, Members of Congress have still not been briefed on any specific imminent threats to the Capitol complex, nor have any plans been moved forward to return the U.S. Capitol to normal operations. Instead, these decisions – which largely disrupt the ability for Members of Congress and staff to do their job, and more importantly limits the people’s access to their House – are being made behind closed doors with zero input by those working on Capitol grounds on a daily basis.
“Congress must be made aware of specific threats to Members of Congress, staff, and all individuals on Capitol grounds employed as support staff or by contractors.”