House clears $2.1 billion Capitol security bill, sending to Biden
The House on Thursday cleared a $2.1 billion emergency spending bill that includes funding for the Capitol Police in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Passage of the bill by a vote of 416-11 came shortly after the Senate advanced the measure hours earlier in a 98-0 vote. The bill now heads to President Biden for his signature.
Six Democrats and five Republicans voted against the bill in the House.
Lawmakers wanted to act quickly ahead of the Capitol Police potentially facing a funding shortfall in August that could lead to furloughs.
The House and Senate action comes just two days after senators reached a bipartisan deal, after talks had dragged on for weeks since the lower chamber passed a $1.9 billion Capitol security package in May.
The package cleared on Thursday provides the Capitol Police with $70.7 million for overtime pay, retention bonuses, equipment and mental health services. It also includes $300 million to harden windows and doors around the Capitol complex and install new security cameras.
Another $521 million would go toward reimbursing the National Guard for deploying its members to the Capitol for months after Jan. 6 to help support the enhanced security demands.
The measure also includes $1.125 billion for Afghan refugee resettlement and would provide 8,000 Afghan special immigrant visas to relocate people who helped the U.S. military.
The compromise Senate measure lacks some of the provisions included in the original House bill, such as creating a rapid response force within the National Guard to back up the Capitol Police in emergency situations and resources for prosecuting the people in the mob that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.
“This bill is not perfect. But time is running short and the immediate needs are dire,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.).
In a sign of how quickly lawmakers wanted to clear the bill, House debate only lasted for a few minutes.
But when it was Republicans’ turn for speaking during floor debate, Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) forced a vote on a motion to adjourn amid GOP anger over a Capitol Police memo this week reiterating that the newly reimposed House mask mandate must be enforced, even if that means barring entry to staff or visitors not wearing facial coverings.
“If we’re going to arrest our staff, I make a motion to adjourn,” Roy said.
Roy’s motion to adjourn subsequently failed largely along party lines.
Thursday’s vote also came two days after the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack by the mob of former President Trump’s supporters held its first hearing with four police officers who defended the Capitol that day.
“Their trauma is real, and it cannot be brushed aside,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) said.