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DC Latest: House Cancels Session Due To Security Concerns, But Senate Stays On The Hill To Vote On COVID Relief

A member of the National Guard patrols the grounds of the US Capitol on March 4, 2021, in Washington, DC.
A member of the National Guard patrols the grounds of the US Capitol on March 4, 2021, in Washington, DC.

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Law enforcement was on high alert Thursday around the U.S. Capitol after authorities said intelligence had uncovered a “possible plot” by a militia group to storm the iconic building again. The alert came two months after Donald Trump supporters smashed through windows and doors to try to stop Congress from certifying now-President Joe Biden's victory.

The threat appeared to be connected to a far-right conspiracy theory, mainly promoted by supporters of QAnon, that former President Trump would rise again to power on March 4 and that thousands would come to Washington to try to remove Democrats from office. March 4 was the original presidential inauguration day until 1933, when it was moved to Jan. 20. There were no signs of disturbance Thursday at the heavily secured building, with Capitol Police and National Guardsmen on duty and a large fence around the perimeter that was put in place after the Jan. 6 riot. The Pentagon is reviewing a request to extend the Guard deployment 60 days beyond its current expiration date of March 12. 

Lawmakers, congressional staffers and law enforcement officials are still on edge after the attack on Jan. 6, even as security around the Capitol remains at an unprecedented level.

The U.S. House wrapped up its work for the week Wednesday night, but the U.S. Senate still had a busy day scheduled for Thursday with votes into the evening planned on its own COVID relief package. Under the current Senate bill, the Biden administration estimates that 158.5 million households will receive direct payments, according to the White House official who insisted on anonymity to discuss private conversations. The official stressed that almost everyone gets a check twice as large as in December, although 3.5 million households that received some payment from the $900 billion December package would no longer qualify.

Today on AirTalk, we’ll talk with California Congressman Ted Lieu about the cancellation of today’s session amid security concerns, the last several days of debate in the House over the COVID relief bill, and talk about what’s in the Senate version of that bill that’s being voted on today.

With files from the Associated Press

With guest host Libby Denkmann


Anna Edgerton, politics editor for Bloomberg; she tweets @annaedge4

Ted Lieu, Democratic congressman representing California’s 33rd district, which includes many Los Angeles County coastal communities; he tweets @tedlieu