The bill provides funding for the National Guard and U.S. Capitol Police, which have been under strain since January 6.
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Published: 2021-07-27 02:41 pm
Senate prepares to move on bill with funding for Capitol Police, security
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Washington — The Senate is nearing a final agreement on a $2.1 billion supplemental security spending bill to direct money to the U.S. Capitol Police and National Guard as they face squeezes from the January 6 assault on the Capitol.

Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, a Democrat from Vermont, confirmed to reporters he had reached a deal with Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the panel's top Republican, on the measure. In addition to providing funding for the Capitol Police and National Guard, the package addresses U.S. government efforts to help Afghans who aided American troops in Afghanistan come to the U.S., Leahy said.

The Biden administration launched this month its operation to support Afghans who assisted the U.S. during the 20-year war in Afghanistan and now face threats from the Taliban. The first round of applicants for special immigrant visas will be temporarily housed at Fort Lee, Virginia, while they complete the visa process.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer told reporters he is seeking an agreement with Republicans to pass the supplemental funding bill for Capitol security and police this week.

"These brave officers put their lives on the line defending the Capitol and each and every one of us, and they are heroes, plain and simple, and they ought to get the funding they need," Schumer said. "There is no reason, no reason for Senate Republicans to oppose funding the police and funding the National Guard." 

The price tag for the Senate's legislation is slightly higher than the $1.9 billion approved by the House in May to boost security at the Capitol and backfill overtime pay for Capitol Police officers. The agency has diminished manpower and saw a drop in morale following the January 6 attack, during which more than 150 Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police officers were injured. One officer, Brian Sicknick, died after responding to the violence at the Capitol.

In the more than six months since the deadly riots at the Capitol, more than 70 officers have left the Capitol Police force. 

Asked about the deal, Leahy told reporters that "we're going to take care of the Capitol Police."

The agreement comes just as the Capitol Police nears a funding shortfall without congressional action. Sources told CBS News this month that a fund used to pay officers is due to run dry in mid-August, but other money could be shifted in the short term to cover salaries through September. 

The National Guard, too, warned of potential impacts to its readiness and training if it were not reimbursed the $521 million cost of its mission protecting the Capitol after January 6.

Roughly 26,000 National Guard troops were deployed to the nation's capital for President Biden's inauguration January 20 to assist with security in the wake of the Capitol assault. Roughly 5,200 troops remained in D.C. in March, but the Guard extended its mission at the request of Capitol Police, keeping 2,200 service members  on until May 23.

All 54 states and U.S. territories contributed to the mission at the Capitol.

Alan He contributed to this report

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