Washington, DC – Additional U.S. Capitol Police (USCP) funding has hit a roadblock as Republicans and Democrats locked horns over what should be included in the funding bill.
USCP could face furloughs and the National Guard would have to cut training if lawmakers don’t find a compromise by August, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Capitol Police are on the verge of running out of money following the unexpected expenditures surrounding the protests in DC last year and the Capitol riot in January, CBS News reported.
Sources said that the fund that pays USCP officers will run out in mid-August.
The U.S. House of Representatives barely approved a $1.9 spending bill to bolster security at the Capitol complex and provide more personal protection for lawmakers, CBS News reported.
But the appropriation has stalled as U.S. senators faced off over proposals that were literally billions of dollars apart, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Republican lawmakers have proposed legislation that would fund the Capitol Police shortfall and bolster the National Guard’s deficit, but nothing else, Politico reported.
On Friday, U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), the Senate appropriations chair, called on senators to come together and approve a bill.
“We did not budget for an insurrection, and without action the Capitol Police will go without payment for the hours of overtime they have incurred, without proper equipment, and without sufficient mental health services to deal with the continued trauma from that day,” Leahy said. “I have been ready, and remain ready, to begin serious negotiations on a security supplemental. If we do not act it will be a security crisis of our own making.”
Then on Monday, he proposed a $3.7 billion supplemental spending bill, more than double the amount that narrowly passed the House, the Wall Street Journal reported.
It included $66.76 million to reimburse the District of Columbia for security costs, $16.5 million to increase personal protection for lawmakers, and $27 million for “Capitol Protection task force” the Capitol Police Chief activate in an emergency, Politico reported.
It’s worth noting that the House-passed bill created a National Guard quick reaction force to fill the same role.
Leahy’s legislation also funded new riot gear and mental health services for the officers, Politico reported.
“Officers stood with us on that horrible day. Shouldn’t we stand with them now and pass an emergency appropriation to address these shortfalls?” Leahy asked his colleagues when he introduced the spending proposal on July 12.
But his proposal also included billions of dollars for special projects that have nothing to do with the Capitol Police or National Guard, Politico reported.
Leahy’s bill included $525 million for the Architect of the Capitol, the office that maintains the Capitol complex and $13.7 million for the Library of Congress.
The Vermont senator’s proposal included $1.3 billion for the Department of Defense’s pandemic-related costs, and another $100 million in funding for Afghan refugees, Politico reported.
Leahy’s legislation also called for funding for other employees of the Capitol complex.
“We cannot turn our backs on the dedicated public servants who had to process the trauma of that day as they boarded up shattered windows and broken doors. A trauma that came on the heels of a yearlong pandemic,” he said.
U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) said on Monday that Congress needed to expedite additional funding for the two areas where there is bipartisan agreement – the Capitol Police and the National Guard, Politico reported.
Shelby called it “the wrong direction” to try and include funding for numerous other projects that would puff up the overall cost.
“We need to fund the police, and we need to fund the guard and move on,” he said.