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National Guard member stage on the U.S. Capitol grounds. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

In an escalation of inauguration security following the Capitol riot, federal authorities plan to lock down a massive swath of downtown Washington on Wednesday, six days earlier than originally planned.

Why it matters: The earlier shutdown is based on warnings about pre-inauguration demonstrations planned for this weekend in capitals throughout the country, as well as tighter security after the Capitol siege. 

  • The Department of Homeland Security announced that the window for the National Special Security Event, which will involve tens of thousands of National Guard troops and federal law enforcement personnel, will begin Jan. 13, rather than the previously scheduled Jan, 19, the day before the inauguration.
  • During the expanded security period, many businesses around the Capitol and White House will be inaccessible. 

Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the change was in light of "events of the past week and the evolving security landscape leading up to the inauguration and at the recommendation of Secret Service Director James Murray."

  • Other National Security Special Events, which make the Secret Service the lead agency, include the Super Bowl and the national political conventions.

The bottom line: The change comes amid a massive tightening of security in D.C., including today's temporary closure of the Washington Monument in response to threats to disrupt President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration.

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Go deeper

Jan 28, 2021 - World

Biden turns the page on Trump's Israel-Palestine policies

Biden with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in 2010. Photo: David Furst/AFP via Getty Images

The Biden administration laid out its Israel-Palestine policy at the UN Security Council on Tuesday, highlighting the importance of repairing ties with the Palestinian Authority.

Driving the news: According to the new policies, the U.S. will resume aid to the Palestinians and reopen the PLO office in Washington and the consulate in Jerusalem.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Here come Earmarks 2.0

DeLauro at a hearing in May 2020. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

The House Appropriations Committee is preparing to restore a limited version of earmarks, which give lawmakers power to direct spending to their districts to pay for special projects.

Why it matters: A series of scandals involving members in both parties prompted a moratorium on earmarks in 2011. But Democrats argue it's worth the risk to bring them back because earmarks would increase their leverage to pass critical legislation with a narrow majority, especially infrastructure and spending bills.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
2 hours ago - Energy & Environment

UN says Paris carbon-cutting plans fall far short

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Nations' formal emissions-cutting pledges are collectively way too weak to put the world on track to meet the Paris climate deal's temperature-limiting target, a United Nations tally shows.

Driving the news: This morning the UN released an analysis of the most recent nationally determined contributions (NDCs) — that is, countries' medium-term emissions targets submitted under the 2015 pact.