House Approves $1.9 Billion to Fortify the Capitol

House Approves $1.9 Billion to Fortify the Capitol

Reuters/Leah Millis

In a close and politically charged vote Tuesday, the House passed a bill that would provide $1.9 billion to beef up security at the Capitol in the wake of the January 6 riots.

New protective measures include more robust windows and doors in the Capitol complex, additional surveillance cameras, retractable perimeter fencing and the creation of a new rapid reaction force. The bill would also provide enhanced protection for lawmakers and federal judges who are prosecuting the rioters, as well as funding to repay the Capitol Police and other agencies that helped defend the Capitol during the assault.

The 213-212 vote came just a day after the House approved the creation of a bipartisan panel to examine the riots, which were led by supporters of former President Donald Trump who sought to overturn the results of the presidential election. Both bills face an uncertain fate in the Senate.

House Republicans opposed the bill, claiming that new fencing is unnecessary and that the overall cost is too high. Some GOP lawmakers said the money would be better spending building the border wall with Mexico.

A small group of liberal Democrats opposed the bill as well, with some objecting to providing additional funding to the police. Only a last-minute compromise in which three progressive Democrats (Jamaal Bowman and Alexandria-Ocasio Cortez of New York and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan) voted “present” allowed the bill to pass by the narrowest of margins.