September 23, 2023

Members of the National Guard walk through temporary security fences outside the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC, United States on Thursday, March 4, 2021.

Stefani Reynolds | Bloomberg | Getty Images

The House passed a $ 1.9 billion US Capitol security bill on Thursday as Congress pondered how to protect life and the democratic process after the January 6 insurrection.

The democratic chamber approved the measure one day after the passage of a law to set up an independent commission to investigate the attack on the legislature with the closest possible margin. The opposition of the Republican leaders has raised doubts as to whether either proposal can get through the equally divided Senate.

The House approved the security funding on a vote between 213 and 212, while three representatives voted “in attendance”.

The three Democrats who spoke out against the law and those who voted “in attendance” are part of the party’s progressive wing. Every Republican voted against the security money the day after 35 GOP officials backed the bipartisan deal to set up the commission to investigate the insurrection.

The house plans to leave Washington for three weeks. The next votes are expected in the week of June 14th.

The bill, passed Thursday, would repay the National Guard and Washington, DC, the cost of securing the Capitol this year and provide overtime pay, retention rewards and trauma resources to the Capitol Police. It would also create a task force to assist the Capitol Police in emergencies, increase security for members of Congress, and fix doors and windows in the Capitol.

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The Democrats passed both laws this week. They say it’s important to better understand how a crowd of Trump supporters overran the Capitol and disrupted the count of President Joe Biden’s election victory – and to prevent it from happening again. House Republican leaders, trying to divert attention from the attack and curb criticism of former President Donald Trump’s electoral conspiracy theories that helped fuel him, pushed against both bills being passed.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, DN.Y., has vowed to at least bring the commission plan to a vote in the Senate. He may have a hard time getting the 10 Republicans it takes to get it or the extra funding from the Chamber.

Senate Minority Chairman Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., Said Wednesday he would defy the commission investigating the attack, claiming it could duplicate Congressional and federal law enforcement efforts. Although he didn’t specifically say he would vote against the security funding, he signaled Tuesday that he was not ready to endorse the current bill.

“We’re not sure what to spend the money on yet. I think we’re hitting the pause button here,” he said.

It’s also unclear whether Democrats could keep all 50 members of their Senate caucus on board. Rep. Jamaal Bowman, a New York Democrat who voted “in attendance” on the finance bill Thursday, said he didn’t think spending more money on the Capitol Police solves what he said caused the attack: “a lack Coordination, preparation and transmission of intelligence “, together with festering white supremacy.

“We need to completely redefine public security and examine those who were involved in this attack. Putting billions more in policing does not achieve that goal,” he said in a statement.

Rioters overwhelmed the Capitol Police, broke barricades, smashed windows and overran the Capitol as the legislature counted the votes on January 6th. The mob came within moments of reaching senior government officials. The attack disrupted the confirmation of Biden’s victory for hours.

It took about three hours for the Pentagon to approve a National Guard response to retake the Capitol. The guard has been present in the legislature since January 6th.

Some Republicans have raised concerns about the establishment of the Emergency Force Act within the DC National Guard. Senior members of the House and Senate Armed Services Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., And James Inhofe, R-Okla., Said in a statement Wednesday that “we cannot and should not militarize the security of the Capitol Complex.” .

Legislators of both parties have also raised concerns about making the Capitol grounds permanently look like a militarized zone.

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