Senators Reveal Competing Funding Proposals For Capitol Police Division, Now Cashing In: NPR
Workers remove security fences around the U.S. Capitol on Saturday. Drew Angerer / Getty Images Hide caption
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Drew Angerer / Getty Images
Just weeks before Capitol Police are due to run out of funding drained by the January 6 riot, the top Democrat and Republican on a key Senate panel unveiled dramatically different proposals to save the agency’s dire finances.
Senate Grants Committee chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Instituted a more comprehensive $ 3.6 billion move that would flow $ 679.3 million to the Capitol Police and related security measures . Meanwhile, senior Republican on the panel, Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, unveiled a much smaller package of $ 632.9 million to divert funds only to the Capitol Police and National Guard.
The competing bills show the gap that remains between the parties to reach consensus on urgent demands to fund the Capitol Police and new demands after the deadly siege.
“My Republican colleagues suggest that we tackle these issues piecemeal – some of them tackle now and others sometime, somewhere, someday,” Leahy said in the Senate as she presented his bill late Monday. “But a step-by-step approach that jumps from one problem to the next is not a way of governing. I’ve been here long enough to know that a promise to do it later isn’t a promise at all. “
The measures come nearly two months after House Democrats approved their own $ 1.9 billion proposal, which soon met with a lukewarm response in the Senate. The House of Representatives plan would allocate nearly $ 1 billion to increase Capitol Police and security for members of Congress, with another large portion of the money earmarked to reimburse the National Guard and other federal agencies for their January 6-related work .
Democrats in the House of Representatives passed their bill by a gossamer margin of 213-212, with some members of their party joining Republicans to vote against it.
By comparison, Leahy’s proposal would expand funding for pandemic-related costs for several federal agencies and new aid in the form of visas and other assistance to US allies in Afghanistan.
For example, it is transferring $ 1.83 billion to the Department of Defense, including $ 521 million to reimburse the cost of deploying the National Guard on Capitol Hill. Another US $ 1.3 billion is earmarked for Department of Defense pandemic costs and another US $ 100 million for emergency aid to Afghan refugees.
“Absolutely the wrong direction,” Shelby told Capitol Hill reporters about the broader Leahy plan to fund Afghan visas.
Shelby suggested that such other programs should be addressed in other bills.
“We’ll be sure to have a chat,” he added.
In a previous statement, Shelby also stated that both the National Guard and the Capitol Police will run out of funds by the end of the year. That should stay in focus, he says.
His plan raises more than $ 100 million to the Capitol Police and more than $ 500 million to the National Guard for costs related to the attack.
“Funding for the Capitol Police and National Guard must not be taken hostage because Democrats insist on billions in spending that are not currently fully supported,” he said.
In his remarks, Leahy reiterated previous statements that raised the alarm about Capitol Police funding and talks that had stalled with Senate Republicans trying to reach an agreement. Leahy estimates that the Capitol Police will use up the funds on police salaries next month.
Capitol police declined to comment on the concerns Friday, but said the force will continue to work with Congress.
“The US Capitol Police continue to advise and work with our oversight committees so that the department can secure the Capitol, members and staff within our funded levels,” the agency said in a statement. “Supporting our workforce in fulfilling our mission remains a high priority.”