On a day when all eyes were on members of the U.S. Capitol Police testifying in Washington, senators from opposite sides of the aisle said they had reached a deal on an emergency security bill that includes about $100 million for the agency that protects Congress.
Facing extraordinary expenses, the embattled police force has warned that it could run out of money as soon as next month, and the agreement would provide funds to reimburse costs incurred during the January 6 assault on the Capitol complex by supporters of former President Donald Trump, as well as trauma support for officers and additional security for lawmakers who have received threats.
The agreement would also provide $521 million to reimburse the National Guard for expenses incurred in the aftermath of the assault; about $300 million for security improvements around the Capitol; and roughly $1.1 billion for a program to relocate Afghans who assisted the U.S. military.
“We're going to take care of the Capitol Police and fix some of the problems that need to be done here. Certainly, take care of the National Guard,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) said. “Both sides had to compromise on some things, but I think we're in pretty good shape.”
Sen. Richard Shelby (AL), the senior Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he is “pleased this legislation sticks to immediate security needs, as I have long advocated. ... I urge my colleagues to support this important legislation.”
What’s next: The House passed a $1.9 billion supplemental security bill in May, so the chambers are getting close on the size of the legislation. However, the House version includes $200 million for the National Guard to create a rapid response security force for the nation’s capital, while the Senate agreement does not, and that difference will have to be ironed out.
The Senate version could face resistance internally, as well, with Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) indicating that he does not support the Afghan relocation program. “That could be a problem,” said Sen. John Thune (R-SD), the minority whip. “If they decide to slow that down or block it, yeah, we'll have to use a lot of floor time.”