D.C. delegate launches new push to prevent permanent fencing around Capitol

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D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton has doubled down on efforts to prevent the installation of permanent fencing around the U.S. Capitol.

Mrs. Norton, a Democrat and the District’s non-voting representative in Congress, announced Wednesday that she had filed an amendment to a fiscal 2022 appropriations bill that would block legislative branch agencies from using funds to install permanent fencing around the Capitol and surrounding buildings.

The House Rules Committee is set to consider her proposal next week, her office said in a news release.

“Permanent fencing would send an un-American message to the nation and the world by transforming our democracy from one that is accessible and of the people to one that is exclusive and fearful of its own citizens,” Mrs. Norton said in a statement. “It would tell the world that the most powerful nation must rely on crude barriers for safety instead of state-of-the-art approaches. We can and must maintain our commitment to security without sacrificing public access by using the least restrictive means necessary to address security.”

Temporary fencing was erected around the Capitol campus in the aftermath of rioters breaching the complex on Jan. 6, and much of it remained in place for about half a year before coming down this month.

In February, Mrs. Norton proposed the No Fencing at the United States Capitol Complex Act, which would prohibit the use of any federal funds to install permanent fencing around the building.

The legislation currently has 10 co-sponsors in the House, including five Democrats and five Republicans. A companion bill in the Senate has bipartisan support as well.

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