Politics

Pelosi says smaller inauguration is

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi addressed security concerns Friday ahead of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration. The speaker noted the event was always intended to be small due to COVID-19, but said that the attack on the Capitol last week has necessitated more security. 

“This is not a concession to the terrorists,” she said, but a “recognition” of the danger of the coronavirus and threats of more violence.  

“We have to have more security than the intelligence might warrant. I think in this case, redundancy might be necessary,” she said. 

More than 30 lawmakers have formally requested an investigation into what they call “suspicious behavior and access given to visitors to the Capitol Complex” on Tuesday ahead of Wednesday’s attack. A letter sent by the lawmakers alleges that some of their colleagues led tours of the U.S. Capitol to visitors who appeared to be “associated” with President Trump’s Wednesday rally.

“Many of the Members who signed this letter, including those of us who have served in the military and are trained to recognize suspicious activity, as well as various members of our staff, witnessed an extremely high number of outside groups in the complex on Tuesday, January 5,” Congresswoman Mikie Sherrill, a New Jersey Democrat, wrote on Twitter. “This is unusual for several reasons, including the fact that access to the Capitol Complex has been restricted since public tours ended in March due to the pandemic. We found these tours so concerning that senior staff questioned the SAA on January 5 about what was taking place.”

Pelosi did not give a timeline for the investigation when asked Friday, but said that if members of Congress are found to be “accomplices” to the insurrection, “there may have to be actions taken beyond the Congress.”

“In order to serve here with each other we must trust that people have respect for their oath of office, respect for this institution. We must trust each other,” she said. “… We must also have the truth, and that will be looked into.”

Pelosi spoke two days after the House voted to impeach President Trump for a second time. Mr. Trump now faces a Senate trial.

“Right now, our managers are solemnly and prayerfully preparing for the trial which they will take to the Senate,” Pelosi said. 

Asked when the House will send the article of impeachment to the Senate, the speaker did not give a straight answer, telling reporters: “You’ll be the first to know when we announce that we’re going over there.”

Pelosi noted that, as the House prepares to send the article, Congress is also in the process of shifting its COVID-19 response in accordance with the new administration. “We are in transition,” Pelosi said. “With the COVID relief package President-elect Biden announced last night, he is delivering on what he said when he was elected, ‘help is on the way.'”

Mr. Biden unveiled his roughly $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal on Thursday night. The massive stimulus bill is expected to fund vaccinations and provide immediate, direct relief to working families and communities, including $1,400 stimulus checks to American adults and implementing a $15 federal minimum wage. 

“As the last jobs report of the Trump administration shows, the need could not be more urgent,” Pelosi said. Hiring fell in December for the first time since April; employers cut 140,000 jobs, and the unemployment rate stayed flat at 6.7%, according to the Labor Department.

The speaker called Biden’s plan “the right approach” in a written statement released Thursday. “It shows that Democrats will finally have a partner at the White House that understands the need to take swift action to address the needs of struggling communities,” reads the statement. 

“We will get right to work to turn President-elect Biden’s vision into legislation that will pass both chambers and be signed into law.”


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