Capitol security funding bill includes $521M to cover National Guard deployment
A $1.9 billion spending bill to bulk up Capitol security following the Jan. 6 insurrection includes nearly $521 million to reimburse the cost of the National Guard’s deployment in the wake of the attack.
Thousands of Guardsmen have been shoring up security at the Capitol since supporters of former President Trump stormed the building while lawmakers were certifying President Biden’s victory in the November election.
At the height of the deployment, about 26,000 troops from every state, three territories and Washington, D.C., were deployed to the nation’s capital to patrol the Capitol complex.
The deployment was originally meant to bulk up security during Biden’s inauguration, but has been extended twice. About 2,300 Guardsmen remain at the Capitol, with the end of the deployment set at May 23 as of now.
The funding for the deployment in the security bill would include $231 million for Army National Guard personnel costs and $218.5 million for Army National Guard operations and maintenance costs. The Air National Guard would get $28.9 million for personnel costs and $42.5 million for operation and maintenance costs.
In addition to the funding to reimburse the Guard’s deployment, the bill would provide $200 million to establish a standing quick reaction force within the D.C. National Guard dedicated to responding to crises in the district.
A summary of the bill from the House Appropriations Committee says the quick reaction force would “augment” Capitol Police and would be the “ground force equivalent of the 113th Wing within the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews, which defends National Capital Region airspace.”
The creation of a quick reaction force dedicated to D.C. was one of the recommendations made in a security review led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré in the wake of the Capitol attack.
While the extended deployment of Guardsmen at the Capitol has garnered bipartisan criticism as unjustified by known threats, the idea of a National Guard quick reaction force stationed off the Capitol complex has garnered some support.