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GOP bill for Capitol security cuts House version by two-thirds

The Republican proposal would still largely reimburse the National Guard and U.S. Capitol Police

A U.S. Capitol Police van is parked in front of the Senate wing of the Capitol on June 17, 2021.
A U.S. Capitol Police van is parked in front of the Senate wing of the Capitol on June 17, 2021. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

A Republican proposal to address security costs from the Jan. 6 insurrection would largely reimburse the National Guard and U.S. Capitol Police but cut roughly two-thirds from the House Democrats’ $1.9 billion version for other expenses.

The $632.9 million draft bill, obtained by CQ Roll Call and dated June 29, represents the latest milestone in the ongoing debate between Republicans and Democrats about how to cover costs associated with the attack on the Capitol and bolster security going forward.

But the GOP proposal likely won’t be the final agreement, with Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy saying it “doesn’t provide the necessary resources to appropriately secure the Capitol complex.”

Leahy criticized Republicans for not including funding in their proposal to enhance security of windows and doors through the complex and reimburse outside law enforcement agencies that helped secure the Capitol on the Jan. 6. He also said that additional funding was needed to address the costs of the COVID-19 pandemic on the Capitol and its staff and to ensure that Afghan nationals who assisted U.S. troops “will not be abandoned.”

Leahy said he planned to release his proposal for Capitol Hill security funding next week, adding that he was “glad that there is finally some momentum behind these negotiations.”

The Republican proposal would provide $520.9 million to reimburse the National Guard, the same amount as the House supplemental version, for the cost of keeping troops in and around the Capitol complex for months following the attack.

Chief of the National Guard Bureau Gen. Daniel R. Hokanson said June 23 that if Congress didn’t approve a bill reimbursing that cost for the Guard’s response “in a timely manner,” it would have “a very significant impact on National Guard readiness.”

“If we don’t get that funding fairly soon we’ll have to look at not only August but also September … either curtailing completely or drastically reducing our National Guard drill weekends and annual training as well as our operational maintenance,” he said during a news conference.

The Republican proposal would provide $37.5 million for Capitol Police salaries, a number also in line with the House bill. Of that funding, $6.9 million would go toward hazard pay, $3.6 million to retention bonuses and $1.4 million to a wellness program.

Among the major differences in the two bills, the Republican proposal would send $15 million to the Architect of the Capitol for construction and operations, significantly less than the $527.9 million in House Democrats’ measure. 

The Republican draft would appropriate $33.2 million for Capitol Police general expenses, about $8.6 million less than House Democrats wanted.

A total of $26.3 million in the Republican proposal would be set aside for mutual aid and related training for Capitol Police, an item that was not included in the House bill, although that measure did provide funding for training and equipment.

Earlier Friday, Leahy, D-Vt., reiterated his call for Republicans to begin “serious” negotiations on a bipartisan security supplemental spending bill.

“It has been seven weeks since the House passed a bill to address these needs with no Republican votes,” he said in a statement. “In the Senate, we continue to press for action, but we have not found a willing partner.”

Sen. Richard C. Shelby, the panel’s ranking member, released his own statement minutes later, saying lawmakers should pass what they agree on.

“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,” he said.

The House bill, approved on a 213-212 mostly party-line vote on May 20, includes millions in funding not in the Republican proposal.

Among spending included in the House bill but not in the Republican version is $34 million for the U.S. attorneys prosecuting hundreds of pro-Trump rioters who broke into the Capitol building. The House bill also included an additional $3.8 million for the Justice Department’s criminal division and $1.7 million for its National Security Division.

The handful of federal law enforcement agencies that responded to the Jan. 6 attack would be reimbursed in the House bill with $5.5 million for the FBI; $1.5 million for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; $1 million for the U.S. Marshals Service; $1.8 million for the Federal Bureau of Prisons; and $1.4 million for the National Park Service. The Republican version includes no funds for those agencies.

The House bill would also provide $21.5 million for the House sergeant-at-arms and $16.5 million for the Senate sergeant-at-arms for their responses to the Jan. 6 attack.

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