WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — Busloads of National Guard troops arrived on U.S. Capitol grounds Thursday as security precautions ramped up following threats of violence from alt-right militia groups.
Troops and Capitol police are armed and patrolling the area to deter any potential threats.
The plot to breach the Capitol stems from a QAnon conspiracy theories, which deem Thursday the day former President Donald Trump returns to power.
“We know that there are people that want to kill members of Congress. That is a documented threat,” Rep Debbie Dingell, D-Mich., said.
House Democrats say it was right to call off their Thursday session to protect themselves and their staff.
“I think that was a prudent measure,” Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., said.
“I think we’re all hopeful this will turn out to be an overreaction,” Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill.said. “But I think we’d rather be better prepared than we were on Jan. 6.”
The decision came after the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned Capitol police of a plot to breach the Capitol in coming days.
“Racially motivated and anti-government extremists did not end or begin on Jan. 6,” White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said.
Psaki says the president is closely tracking the issue.
“We are witnessing a years-long trend of false narratives fueling violence,” Psaki said.
Despite the threat, in the Senate, It’s business as usual.
“I feel safe here today,” Sen. Gary Peters, D-Mich., said.
Peters says the Senate is staying to pass President Joe Biden’s massive COVID-19 relief package.
Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, says House lawmakers are overreacting.
“I don’t think we need 5,000 National Guardsmen around here,” Grassley said.
But Grassley says Trump should do his part to condemn the violence.
“I hope as a citizen he would say these things are wrong, but I don’t expect him to do it any more than any other citizen,” he said.
In the meantime, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says new permanent security recommendations are on the way.
“It’s going to take more money to protect the Capitol,” Pelosi said.
Pelosi is awaiting an official report reviewing security breakdowns during the Jan. 6 attack.
A leaked draft of the plan recommends that the Capitol police bring in more than a thousand new officers to counter growing threats.