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Capitol Police could bolster staffing, security under Biden budget proposal

Government Accountability Office and Congressional Budget Office would also see funding increases

A member of the Capitol Police is seen in the Senate carriage entrance of the Capitol on Sept. 21, 2023.
A member of the Capitol Police is seen in the Senate carriage entrance of the Capitol on Sept. 21, 2023. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Capitol Police would see a steep funding increase in the coming fiscal year under President Joe Biden’s budget request released Monday.

The department, which continues to complain of low staffing levels amid elevated threats against members and staff, would receive $901 million in fiscal 2025, according to the proposal, a more than 22 percent bump over current funding.

Capitol Police officers have said they are struggling to keep up with increased caseloads. The department said in January that its officers had investigated 8,008 cases of threats and concerning statements directed at lawmakers in 2023, up nearly 7 percent from 2022.

In the wake of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, the department’s inspector general released a report highlighting staffing and training challenges. According to the proposed budget released Monday, the department would receive $637 million to fund things like salary, benefits and overtime, up from an estimated $542 million currently.

“Thanks to the support of the Congress, our Department continues to improve and meet our stakeholder’s post January 6 recommendations by investing in critical resources to protect the Members of Congress,” a spokesperson for the Capitol Police said in a statement. “The FY25 budget would continue to increase our staffing, enhance our intelligence capabilities to keep pace with advancing technology, and modernize our Department with the latest physical and technical security measures to improve Member safety on Capitol Hill and in their home districts.”

Because Congress has not passed its final fiscal 2024 Legislative Branch spending bill — or several other appropriations measures — the budget request relies on comparisons to annualized spending estimates for the current fiscal year based on the current continuing resolution.

Capitol Police are not the only Legislative Branch agency that would see a bump. The Government Accountability Office would get $916 million, a 16 percent increase, for example, while the Congressional Budget Office would get $71 million, a 13 percent increase.

The proposal is part of Biden’s larger $7.3 trillion request, which would lower the cost of health care and housing, increase funding for child care and expand college aid. The proposal is a way for Biden, the presumed Democratic nominee for president, to signal spending and policy proposals should he win a second term. But unlike other requests released by the president, Legislative Branch numbers are typically submitted by Congress for inclusion in the president’s budget.

The release comes ahead of a March 22 deadline to pass a package of spending measures, including the fiscal 2024 Legislative Branch appropriations bill, to avert a partial government shutdown.

The House in November passed a $5.3 billion Legislative Branch appropriations bill that House Republicans said represented a 4.7 percent cut. That total did not include Senate-only funds.

Meanwhile, Senate appropriators in July advanced a $6.8 billion fiscal 2024 Legislative Branch bill out of committee, slightly less than the $6.9 billion appropriated in fiscal 2023.

Senate and House appropriators are currently negotiating the details of an end product. Whether to give members their first pay raise — known as a cost-of-living adjustment — in more than a decade has been a sticking point, as have some conservative policy riders in the House bill, which would zero out funding for the House Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Chris Marquette contributed to this report.

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