House Narrowly Passes $1.9 Billion Bill to Increase Capitol Security

The House narrowly passed a $1.9 billion emergency spending measure on Thursday to boost security for the U.S. Capitol complex and other government agencies that responded to the January 6th attack on Congress.

Opposition to the bill largely stemmed from a provision allocating more funds to the police, which contradicts calls from the left to “defund” the police. No Republicans voted for the bill, which passed the House, 213-212.

Photo by ERIC BARADAT/AFP via Getty Images

The three Democrats who voted against the bill were Reps. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Cori Bush of Missouri, and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts. The three Democrats who voted present were Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Jamaal Bowman of New York, and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan.

In an effort to improve the response to a future incident, the bill would allocate $18 million to provide body cameras to U.S. Capitol Police officers who interact with the general public, buy riot control equipment and strengthen intelligence and training. Additionally, the architect of the Capitol would receive about $529 million to install new cameras around the Capitol and surrounding office buildings, for new screening vestibules and to upgrade accessible windows and doors to these buildings. And the House sergeant-at-arms would receive about $21 million to enhance security and threat assessments for members of Congress, for coordination of security for lawmakers when they travel, and for the installation of cameras in members’ district offices back home.

The legislation would also provide more funding to Capitol Police to help backfill overtime pay for the agency until it can hire, train and deploy more officers, bolster resources for its intelligence division, pay for new mental health counselors and reimburse the cost for equipment and services used in the wake of the attack.

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-WA), a member of the Appropriations Committee, urged her GOP colleagues to vote against the measure because she thinks lawmakers should spend more time making sure that the funding would be used wisely.

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