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D.C. Delegate Norton vows to 'stop' permanent fencing around U.S. Capitol

Norton said that "permanent fencing would send an un-American message to the nation and the world."

Updated: February 17, 2021 - 7:15pm

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Democratic Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton, the non-voting delegate representing the District of Columbia in the House, vowed to stop the 7-foot fence surrounding the U.S. Capitol from becoming permanent. 

"The @WashingtonPost @PostOpinions published an editorial supporting my No Fencing at the Capitol Act," she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. "No bill should even be necessary to stop permanent fencing, but stop it I will."

Norton, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, linked to a Washington Post editorial that called on Congress not to "deface" the U.S. Capitol Building with a permanent fence. Norton's bill would prohibit the fence from becoming permanent.

"The Capitol Police Board — which consists of the House sergeant at arms, the Senate sergeant at arms and doorkeeper and the architect of the Capitol, with the Capitol Police chief a nonvoting member — would likely be the one to formally request the fence," wrote the Post's editorial board.

"The House and Senate sergeants-at-arms are effectively selected by the speaker and the Senate majority leader, which means, if they agree on a matter, Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer effectively control the board," the editorial continued. "They need to use their influence to secure the Capitol without defacing it."

Norton said that "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."

The fence was installed following the Jan. 6 riot. It includes razor wire at the top. There have been no major incidents on the Capitol complex since that time. Some lawmakers have called for its removal.

"I haven't seen any credible information whatsoever that we would need all the fencing and all the guardsmen that are still there," said California Republican Rep. Devin Nunes, ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee. "They need to go home."

Arizona Republican Rep. Andy Biggs recently told Just the News that installing the fence around the Capitol proved the Republicans' case for installing additional barriers on the southern border.

"The same people who tell me that fences don't work on the border want to have this fence and turn the Capitol into a military compound," Biggs said during an interview on the "Just the News AM" show. "So we don't know of any existing, emergent threat to the Capitol, but we do know of an existing, emergent threat to our nation through the border, people crossing the border illegally that are coming across."