Senate to vote on Capitol security bill, heading off August shortfalls

By | July 29, 2021

Senate appropriators teed up a vote Thursday to address Capitol security concerns exacerbated by the Jan. 6 insurrection, following weeks of deadlock.

The $2.1 billion compromise bill plugs security shortfalls around the Capitol complex, fully reimburses the National Guard and Capitol Police for increased staffing needs and provides $1.125 billion in relief for Afghan nationals who assisted the U.S. war effort.

“We have to make a strong statement of support for those officers who defended the building and all that it stands for on that terrible day,” said Appropriations Chair Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on the Senate floor.

The compromise comes just days after U.S. Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department officers gave emotional testimony to a House panel about the violence they endured during the worst attack on the Capitol since the War of 1812. Facing increased costs after the insurrection, both the USCP and National Guard faced a potential cash crunch heading into August.

Republicans had originally panned Democrats’ offer as too expensive and questioned whether the provisions supporting Afghan nationals needed to be included in the legislation. Several Republican senators had placed holds on the bill as they voiced their concerns.

Even if the Senate passes the bill Thursday, it could face resistance from progressives in the House, who previously opposed the House’s version of the security bill over its lack of reforms to the Capitol Police.