House to vote on $1.9 billion Capitol security bill
WASHINGTON / CNN — The House of Representatives could approve a $1.9 billion spending bill to increase US Capitol building security on Thursday.
The sweeping legislation would fund a wide range of security measures as well as enact changes that would improve preparedness for lawmakers, including at their district officers, and the Capitol Police force.
After House reps take up the bill, it would need to pass the Senate before going to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said at a news conference Wednesday that the legislation “will protect the Capitol and all who serve and work here.”
“We cannot wait, we need to get this done,” House Appropriations Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro, a Connecticut Democrat, said. “We have to act, and we have to act now.”
The push to increase security at the Capitol was brought on by congressional Democrats in response to the January attack. The House voted on Wednesday to pass legislation establishing an independent commission that would investigate the violent insurrection.
Partisan disagreements over how to respond to the insurrection come as a number of Republicans, in the House in particular, continue to downplay the severity of the attack.
The $1.9 billion legislation was developed in response to the findings and recommendations of a task force led by retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré, who was tasked by Pelosi to lead a review of Capitol security after the insurrection.
Among a number of provisions, the legislation would provide $250 million for Capitol grounds security, which could be used for physical infrastructure including “retractable, or ‘pop-in’ fencing, and security sensors,” according to a bill summary released by the House Appropriations Committee.
If passed, the bill would allocate $162.7 million to harden security safeguards for windows and doors at the Capitol as well as at House and Senate office buildings.
The bill also wants $7.4 million set aside to increase security for lawmakers, including threat assessments, and $10.6 million would go toward security measures and the installation of camera systems in district offices for members.
The Capitol Police force would get $8.6 million for body cameras, $6.8 million for specialized training, and $2.6 million “to procure basic riot control equipment to outfit all officers with ballistic helmets, batons, and body shields,” the bill summary states.
The legislation would use $200 million “to create a dedicated Quick Reaction Force to augment the Capitol Police,” according to the summary.
Additionally, the measure provides funding for efforts related to the prosecution of individuals who took part in the January 6 attack.
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