Lawmakers had debated the future of the barriers for months after the attack as they tried to strike a balance between open access to the Capitol and security. Few expressed any willingness to keep the fencing, and additional funding to maintain or alter the structure was left in doubt when the House’s $1.9 billion emergency security funding package stalled out in the Senate.
An outer perimeter fence that closed off several blocks around the Capitol was removed in March, and the Capitol Police Board abandoned plans to reconstruct it in the days leading up to President Joe Biden’s joint address to Congress in April.
The campus is still closed to most members of the public, with tours halted for the duration of the coronavirus pandemic, and the memo notes current restrictions on access to the Capitol “will remain in place.”
The three-member Capitol Police Board, a normally obscure panel, had the final say on the fence’s removal after the Capitol Police recommended it be taken down. Its voting membership is composed of the Architect of the Capitol and the House and Senate Sergeants-at-arms, with the Capitol Police chief attending as a non-voting member.