May 20, 2021 - Politics & Policy

House passes $1.9 billion in funding to increase security at Capitol

Capitol Police attempting to hold back people during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Capitol Police attempting to hold back people during the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Photo: Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

The House of Representatives voted 213-212 Thursday to approve a $1.9 billion bill that would increase security at the U.S. Capitol in the aftermath of the deadly Jan. 6 riot.

Why it matters: Democrats have argued the upgrades funded by the legislation are needed to patch the security shortcomings exploited by the pro-Trump mob on the day of the riot. Some Republicans have warned the measures are an overreaction.

Between the lines: A handful of progressives voted "no" or "present" on the bill, citing policing concerns.

Context: The Architect of the Capitol Brett Blanton said in February that repairs and security expenses stemming from the riot had cost more than $30 million at that time.

The big picture: The bill gives Capitol Police $43.9 million, $31.1 million of which is meant to go toward backfilling overtime until the department can hire and train more officers, according to a summary statement released by the House Appropriations Committee.

  • The force would also receive $1.3 million for gas masks, tactical vests, body armor, and other equipment; $2.6 million to buy basic riot control equipment for all officers; and $4.4 million for wellness and trauma support.
  • The National Guard, which sent troops to the Capitol on Jan. 6 to respond to the riot, will receive $520.9 million from the legislation to pay for costs associated with stationing troops in and around the building.
  • It gives $250 million for Capitol grounds security, which may be used for physical infrastructure including retractable fencing and security sensors.
  • An additional $162.7 million would be set aside to harden accessible windows and doors at the Capitol as well as at House and Senate office buildings.

The House passed a bill Wednesday establishing a 9/11-style commission to investigate the riot, though only 35 Republicans voted in favor of the legislation. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has voiced his opposition to the bill.

What's next: The security funding legislation now heads to the Senate, where it will need to win 60 votes before being sent to President Biden's desk to be signed into law.

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