(NEXSTAR) – In the hours ahead of another tense Wednesday on Capitol Hill, members of the National Guard could be seen huddled in groups, trying to get some sleep on the floor of our nation’s capitol.
The visible military presence was aimed at maintaining security a week after a violent takeover of the United States Capitol as lawmakers were expected to vote Wednesday on a second impeachment effort against outgoing President Donald Trump.
As the House opens its impeachment hearing, the District of Columbia National Guard says it has been authorized to arm troops assigned to security duty on the U.S. Capitol grounds.
In photos captured by political staffers and journalists, dozens of camouflaged guard members could be seen takings some down time in the early hours of Wednesday.
Much of the online reaction questioned why the troops were not provided more comfortable sleeping arrangements.
The Guard said in a statement that the increased presence was requested by federal authorities and approved by Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy as of approximately 6 p.m. Tuesday.
Up to 15,000 Guard members are expected to be on duty in coming days in the district to support law enforcement in connection with the Jan. 20 inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.