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The thousands of National Guard troops who are still serving in Washington, DC following the Jan. 6 attack on the US Capitol will reportedly be returning home this week.
The Department of Defense declined to extend the deployment of the remaining 2,149 troops past Sunday, according to TV station WUSA9.
“The Capitol Police have not requested the Guard to stay past May 23,” Capt. Chelsi B. Johnson, a DC guard spokesperson, told the news outlet.
“Once the mission concludes, D.C. National Guard will return to normal operations and the out-of-state Guard members will return to their home station.”
About 26,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the nation’s capital after the deadly riot by supporters of former President Donald Trump in a bid to prevent Congress from certifying President Biden’s victory.
Plans initially called for them to stay only through March 12, but that deadline was extended for nearly 2,300 by Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin at the request of the Capitol Police.
At the time, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the move was intended to “help bolster and support the Capitol Police and their capabilities, which may not be at the level where it needs to be given the fact that we’re in sort of a new environment in this country.”
Austin’s decision came over objections from Gen. Daniel Hokanson, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, who cited “pressing needs” in the troop’s home states “related to COVID-19, Civil Disturbance, wildfire, hurricane and flood response,” according to a memo obtained by Fox News.
The initial deployment cost taxpayers around $500 million but there’s been no updated price tag since then, WUSA9 said.
The National Guard’s stay in the capital has been marked by controversy, including stunning photos of troops forced to sleep on the marble floors of the Capitol ahead of Biden’s inauguration.
About 150 guard members also reportedly tested positive for the coronavirus in late January and more than a dozen were reportedly later sickened by undercooked meat in their meals, some of which were also found to contain metal shavings.
Last week, a Democratic plan to spend $1.9 billion on Capitol security measures squeaked through the House by a one-vote margin, 213-212.
The plan includes $250 million for retractable fencing and sensors, $162.7 million for stronger doors and windows and $100 million to install vestibules for checking visitors.
The bill is expected to face Republican opposition in Senate, which is split 50-50.
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