GOP Proposes Capitol Police Funding Counteroffer to Democrats
(Bloomberg) -- The Senate is turning its focus to a funding crisis caused by the Jan. 6 riot, with the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee on Friday calling for an emergency bill to fund the Capitol Police and National Guard.
Police furloughs and training cutbacks for the Guard loom as soon as next month in the wake of unanticipated bills from the response to the Jan. 6 riot caused by supporters of former President Donald Trump. While the House in May passed a $2 billion security bill, including money for a controversial new fence, that measure has so far stalled in the Senate.
Republican lawmakers are proposing an immediate infusion of $521 million for the Guard, $97 million for the Capitol Police and $15 million for the office of the Architect of the Capitol, according to a document obtained by Bloomberg News.
“We should pass now what we all agree on: The Capitol Police and National Guard are running out of money, the clock is ticking, and we need to take care of them,” Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said in an emailed statement Friday.
House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro and Legislative Branch subcommittee Chair Tim Ryan in a separate statement urged the Senate to pass the full House bill.
“This legislation covers overtime pay, provides retention bonuses, and expands wellness and trauma support for these heroes,” the House Democrats said. “It is time for the Senate to come to the table, honor the sacrifice of the Capitol Police, and swiftly pass the emergency supplemental.”
Shelby believes that wider discussions on a long-term funding increase for the police and for other security improvements should await the development of a comprehensive plan, according to a GOP aide.
Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy said after the $633 million Republican proposal was made public that it was inadequate because it did not provide enough money to secure the Capitol or cover repair costs. He also called for funds to aid Afghan refugees.
“I will be releasing my comprehensive proposal, which I shared with Senate Republicans more than a month ago, next week. I am glad that there is finally some momentum behind these negotiations,” he said in an emailed statement on Friday night.
Earlier Friday, he reiterated his call for immediate talks on a supplemental security spending bill this month. The Senate returns next week from an extended July 4 holiday.
“We did not budget for an insurrection, and without action the Capitol Police will go without payment for the hours of overtime they have incurred, without proper equipment, and without sufficient mental health services to deal with the continued trauma from that day,” said Leahy, a Vermont Democrat. He added that he has been ready to begin serious negotiations on a security supplemental.
“If we do not act it will be a security crisis of our own making,” he said.
©2021 Bloomberg L.P.