Senators reach $2 billion deal on emergency Capitol security bill

Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) speaks to reporters on June 14
Greg Nash

Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top members of the Appropriations Committee, reached a roughly $2 billion deal on Tuesday to provide new funding to the Capitol Police, after warning bells that they were heading toward a funding cliff sparked by the Jan. 6 attack.  

Leahy, speaking with reporters, confirmed that they had an agreement. In addition to emergency funding for the Capitol Police, it’s also expected to reimburse the National Guard for $521 million, provide funding for security improvements around the Capitol and include an unrelated issue of visas for Afghans who aided the U.S. military effort.  

“We’re going to take care of the Capitol Police and fix some of the problems that need to be done here. Certainly, take care of the National Guard,” Leahy said. “Both sides had to compromise on some things, but I think we’re in pretty good shape.” 

Shelby, in a statement on Tuesday, confirmed that they had an agreement.

“I am pleased this legislation sticks to immediate security needs, as I have long advocated. …I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation,” he said.

The deal, which is expected to be just over $2 billion, will include $100 million for the Capitol Police and more than $300 million for the security measures around the Capitol complex, according to a source familiar with the agreement. 

The deal will include more than $1 billion for the Pentagon, divided up between the money for the National Guard and roughly $500 million for the Afghan special immigrant visas program. The State Department would get an additional $600 million for the program and the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement would get $25 million, the source added. 

The House passed a $1.9 billion emergency supplemental package in May. That included roughly $44 million for Capitol Police, including funds for overtime pay, training, equipment, trauma support for officers and expanding intelligence gathering. It would also reimburse the National Guard and D.C. police for their work at the Capitol.

Unlike the House bill, Leahy said the Senate deal does not include the creation of a rapid response force to back up the Capitol Police. 

The agreement comes after warnings that the Capitol Police could run out of funding in August sparked speculation that the department could be forced to implement furloughs. 

Senate Republicans initially pitched a bill of roughly $632 million that included National Guard, Capitol Police and Architect of the Capitol funding. Leahy, however, went significantly further, pitching a $3.7 billion bill, nearly twice the amount passed by the House. 

But the two appeared to be making progress behind the scenes, with Shelby telling reporters last week that he had upped his negotiating top-line. 

The Capitol Police have been in flux since Jan. 6, when protesters overwhelmed the force and were able to breach the building, interrupting the counting of the Electoral College vote and forcing lawmakers, staff and reporters to shelter in place around the complex.

The Senate deal came as officers were providing emotional testimony to a House select committee about the attack. 

Lawmakers on both sides are hoping to move quickly on the Senate deal. Leahy and Shelby are expected to file their legislation later Tuesday and want to have it on the floor as soon as Wednesday.  

In order to move the bill that quickly they would need an agreement with all 100 senators, who are already floating that it could run into a roadblock from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) because it includes the Afghan aid.

“That could be a problem. If they decide to slow that down or block it, yeah, we’ll have to use a lot of floor time,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the No. 2 Senate Republican.

Leahy, asked about Paul, said that if he “has a problem, come up with an alternative” and they could give him a vote when the deal comes to the floor. And Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) told reporters that he’s seeking an agreement with Republicans to move the deal this week. 

It would then need to be passed by the House without changes to be sent to President Biden’s desk. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) told reporters on Tuesday that he had spoken with Leahy earlier about the status of the talks.

“He indicates he thinks they are close to an agreement. I urged him if they’re close to agreement, to pass that as soon as possible over to the House so that we can deal with it this week,” Hoyer said. 

Mike Lillis contributed to this report, which was updated at 3:22 p.m.

Tags Capitol breach Capitol insurrection Capitol police Capitol riot Charles Schumer funding Jan. 6 Capitol attack Joe Biden John Thune Patrick Leahy Rand Paul Richard Shelby Security Steny Hoyer

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