Senate passes $2.1 billion Capitol security bill
The Senate passed a $2.1 billion Capitol security bill on Thursday, including providing new funding for the Capitol Police as they face a fiscal cliff.
Senators voted 98-0 on the bill, sending it to the House, where it could be passed as soon as Thursday.
The Senate vote comes days after Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the top members of the Senate Appropriations Committee, announced they had agreement on the bill, capping off weeks of behind-the-scenes haggling.
“If we do not act, the Capitol Police will deplete salaries funding in a matter of weeks, and the National Guard will be forced to cancel needed training to carry out their mission at home and abroad. Doing nothing would be a security crisis entirely of our own making,” Leahy said ahead of the vote.
The bill includes $521 million to reimburse the National Guard, roughly $100 million for the Capitol Police, $300 million for Capitol security and $42.1 million related to COVID-19 costs in the Capitol.
Lawmakers had warned that without new funding the Capitol Police would face a funding shortfall starting in August that could force them to enact furloughs, though sources also said they could move money around.
The bill would also provide $1.125 billion for Afghan refugee resettlement and provide 8,000 Afghan special immigrant visas as the United States works to relocate individuals who helped the U.S. military.
The House previously 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 expanded 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 Capitol Police.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) indicated that the House could take up the bill as soon as this week.
“He indicates he thinks they are close to an agreement,” Hoyer said, referring to Leahy. “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.”