According to a POLITICO report published Thursday, thousands of National Guardsmen were ordered to leave the Capitol building and rest in a nearby parking garage without internet reception, with just one electrical outlet and one bathroom for 5,000 troops.
The guardsmen, who had been resting inside the Capitol building between 12-hour shifts, were told they could no longer use the Capitol building as a rest area after protecting the nation’s capital in the days leading up to the presidential inauguration.
“Yesterday dozens of senators and congressmen walked down our lines taking photos, shaking our hands and thanking us for our service,” a guardsman told POLITICO. “Within 24 hours, they had no further use for us and banished us to the corner of a parking garage. We feel incredibly betrayed.”
After the POLITICO article was published, many lawmakers took to Twitter to ask for answers.
Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) called the situation “unreal” and offered her office to be used as a rest area for the guardsmen.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) tweeted: “If this is true, it’s outrageous. I will get to the bottom of this.”
Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) noted that the Capitol buildings remain closed to the public, “so there’s plenty of room for troops to take a break in them.”
By 10 p.m., Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) said the situation was “being resolved” and that the guardsmen would be able to return to the Capitol building later that night.
“Just made a number of calls and have been informed Capitol Police have apologized to the guardsmen and they will be allowed back into the complex tonight,” added Sen. Duckworth. “I’ll keep checking to make sure they are.”
Brig. Gen. Janeen Birckhead, the Guard’s Inauguration Task Force commander, confirmed in a statement to POLITICO that the troops were out of the garage and back into the Capitol building late Thursday night.
The National Guard Bureau said the troops had been temporarily relocated because Congress was in session.
“The National Guard continues to assist and support the U.S. Capitol Police. As Congress is in session and increased foot traffic and business is being conducted, Capitol Police asked the troops to move their rest area,” the National Guard Bureau said in a statement. “They were temporarily relocated to the Thurgood Marshall Judicial Center garage with heat and restroom facilities. We remain an agile and flexible force to provide for the safety and security of the Capitol and its surrounding areas.”
Follow Annaliese Levy on Twitter @AnnalieseLevy
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Health Industry Distributors’ Association: Supply Chain Delays ‘A Healthcare Issue’
The Health Industry Distributors’ Association (HIDA) released harrowing data stating “Transportation Delays Are A Healthcare Issue.” HIDA’s December release states, “research estimates that approximately 8,000-12,000 containers of critical medical supplies are delayed an average of up to 37 days throughout the transportation system.”
The statement continues, “The West Coast port with the greatest number of delayed medical containers are the Ports of Long Beach and Los Angeles. The most congested East Coast port is the Port of Savannah.”
An infographic is accompanied with the statement which breaks down the crisis further. 17 is the average number of days the shipments are delayed at the Port. There’s an 11 day average delay by rail, and a 9 day average delay by truck.
In those shipping containers, the infographic states 187,000 gowns, 360,000 syringes and 3.5 million surgical gloves are held. The ports with the most medical delayed supplies are Los Angeles/Long Beach, Savannah, New York/New Jersey, Charleston, Seattle, Oakland, Boston, Baltimore and Houston.
Axios reports under a “Why it matters” headline, that “Per their projections, medical supplies arriving at a U.S. port on Christmas Day won’t be delivered to hospitals and other care settings until February 2022.”
As a result, “that could delay critical supplies at a time when health care is already expected to most need them due to surges from Delta and Omicron.”
Additionally, “The supply chain problems can compound, starting with medical supplies languishing in U.S. ports for an average of 17 days, officials said.”
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