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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters the security presence in and around the U.S. Capitol was an overreaction on Wednesday.

Why it matters: The Capitol grounds have been surrounded by troops and tall fencing with razor wire since rioters stormed the building in January. McConnell joins a growing number of lawmakers who have decried the security measures, Bloomberg reports.

What he's saying: "I think we are way overreacting to the current need," McConnell said. "We’ve overdone it.

  • He said earlier Wednesday that he's "extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol," per Politico.
  • "It reminds me of my last visit to Kabul," he added, referring to the capital of Afghanistan. "It looks terrible to have our beacon of democracy surrounded by razor wire and National Guard troops."

The big picture: The National Guard remains deployed at the Capitol through at least May 23, but other lawmakers including Democrats have echoed McConnell's concerns.

  • Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), the second-highest-ranking Democrat in the upper chamber, called the security measures "unacceptable" on Tuesday, according to Bloomberg.
  • "Currently, 10-foot fences with razor wire on top of it," Durbin said. "It's just ghastly. It’s an embarrassment. If there is a better way to protect us, I want to see it."

Go deeper

Dave Lawler, author of World
43 mins ago - World

Blockades and ballots: A wild day in the post-Brexit U.K.

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

British naval vessels dispatched to break a French blockade, Scottish nationalists attempting to break away from the U.K., and working class voters in the northeast breaking for the Conservatives after voting Labour for six decades.

Why it matters: That was just one day in the topsy turvy reality of post-Brexit Britain.

S.C. governor orders end to federal COVID-related unemployment benefits

Photo: Micah Green/Bloomberg via Getty Images

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster (R) on Thursday ordered the termination of the state's participation in all federal, pandemic-related unemployment benefit programs.

Driving the news: McMaster cited labor shortages, but some experts say it's the job climate and not unemployment benefits that is determining the pace at which people are returning to work.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Mixed response in Europe to Biden's vaccine patents bombshell

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The Biden administration surprised the world last night by coming out in favor of waiving patents for coronavirus vaccines — but Europe is divided on the issue.

What they're saying: European Commission President Ursula Von Der Leyen said Brussels would be willing to discuss it; French President Emmanuel Macron said he backed the U.S. position, but a German government spokesman said the proposal would cause "severe complications" for vaccine production.