Politics

House Democrats unveil $1.9 billion bill to increase security after January 6 Capitol attack

The sweeping legislation, introduced by House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Democrat from Connecticut, covers a wide array of priorities, including providing funding to broadly enhance security across Capitol grounds as well as specific provisions to bolster protections and increase preparedness for lawmakers, including at their district offices, and the Capitol Police force.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said that Democrats plan to bring the legislation to a vote on the floor next week.

“It’s very essential that we get going with that. In my view, it’s overdue. But nonetheless, it’s urgently needed now,” Pelosi said at her weekly news conference on Thursday.

Democrats have pushed for security upgrades and a supplemental funding bill to address security at the Capitol in the wake of the January 6 attack incited by former President Donald Trump’s lies that the election was stolen and calls for his supporters to fight back. Some Republicans have warned, however, against an overreach that they say would effectively create a locked down Capitol.

The legislation would need to pass in the Senate as well as in the House before it could go to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.

“The January 6 insurrection caused tragic loss of life and many injuries, while leaving behind widespread physical damage to the Capitol Complex and emotional trauma for Members, Congressional employees, and the Capitol Police,” DeLauro said in a statement announcing the release of the legislation.

“This emergency supplemental appropriation addresses the direct costs of the insurrection and strengthens Capitol security for the future,” she said. “It is also long overdue recognition of the work of the Capitol Police, the sacrifices that they and their families have made, and the changes they need.”

Among a number of provisions, the legislation would provide $250 million for Capitol grounds security, which could be used for physical infrastructure including “retractable, or ‘pop-in’ fencing, and security sensors,” according to a bill summary released by the House Appropriations Committee.

There would be $162.7 million to harden security safeguards for windows and doors at the Capitol building as well as at House and Senate office buildings.

The plan would have $7.4 million set aside to increase security for lawmakers, including threat assessments, and $10.6 million would go toward security measures and the installation of camera systems in district offices for members.

The Capitol police force would be given $8.6 million for body cameras, $6.8 million for specialized training and $2.6 million “to procure basic riot control equipment to outfit all officers with ballistic helmets, batons, and body shields,” the bill summary states.

The legislation would also set aside $200 million “to create a dedicated Quick Reaction Force to augment the Capitol Police,” according to the summary.

Additionally, the security bill provides funding to help deal with the prosecution of individuals who took part in the January 6 attack.

The bill summary says there would be $39.5 million “to process the hundreds of prosecutions of perpetrators of the January 6 insurrection, including $34 million for United States Attorneys; $3.8 million for the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice; and $1.7 million for the National Security Division of the Department of Justice.”

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