Democrats urge Army to send cots for troops sleeping in Capitol

Democrats urge Army to send cots for troops sleeping in Capitol

More than a dozen House Democrats on Thursday called for cots, bedding, shower facilities and other resources for National Guard troops who have been sleeping on the floor in the halls of the Capitol this week.

In a letter to Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy, Reps. Rosa DeLauro of Connecticut and Betty McCollum (D-Minn.) said they were “disappointed” by images that went viral on social media of soldiers resting in the Capitol Rotunda, the Capitol Visitor Center and elsewhere as the Army scrambles to secure lodging for thousands of troops sent to the nation’s capital to prevent further violence following the insurrection last week.

“With the uncertainty for needed rest and recoup time in flux, and to ensure that the Guard members are fully able to execute their protection mission, we urge you to make available cots or other equipment to more easily facilitate their ability to rest while they are on Capitol grounds,” wrote DeLauro, chair of the House Appropriations Committee, along with McCollum, the top Democrat on the spending panel that funds the military.

In a separate letter led by Reps. Cindy Axne (D-Iowa) and Jason Crow (D-Colo.), 13 Democrats called on the leaders of the House Administration Committee to allow the troops and other law enforcement to use shower and locker room facilities, in addition to dining facilities.

“It is unclear how long they may need to protect and defend the Capitol complex, and providing access to showers to freshen up can make all the difference after long shifts,” the lawmakers wrote. “Additionally, we ask that you consider the procurement of cots, bedding, or other materials that would allow personnel forced to overnight in the Capitol complex or those on rest status some comfort.”

The images, taken in a historical building typically open to public tours and school field trips, underscored the ongoing threat of additional violence after the insurrection on Jan. 6. Lawmakers still fear for their safety as the House impeached President Donald Trump for a second time this week and Washington prepares for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration on Wednesday.

As of Thursday, the National Guard said it has deployed 7,000 members from states across the country to provide support for Biden’s inauguration. The Secret Service, Capitol Police and U.S. Park Police requested the help.

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