- The Washington Times
Thursday, July 29, 2021

The Senate passed a $2 billion emergency supplemental spending bill Thursday to reimburse the U.S. Capitol Police and National Guard for their deployment in response to Jan. 6 riot.

The funding stalled in the Senate after the House passed a $1.9 billion emergency package in May, with the holdup threatening to force National Guard units to cancel training due to lack of funding.

“If we do not act, the Capitol Police will deplete salaries funding in a matter of weeks, and the National Guard will be forced to cancel needed training to carry out their mission at home and abroad,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said before the vote. “Doing nothing would be a security crisis entirely of our own making.”

The supplemental spending bill also provides more funds to resettle Afghan allies threatened by Taliban retaliation after the U.S. pullout.

The bill, which passed 98 to 0, provides $100 million for the Capitol Police and more than $500 million for the National Guard. The bill also provides more than $1 billion in funding for Afghan Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) and refugee resettlement programs requested by the White House earlier this week.

“It’s past time we provide urgently needed funding to safeguard the Capitol, ensure National Guard readiness, and protect our allies in Afghanistan,” said Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby. “I am pleased the Senate has advanced this bipartisan bill to fund our immediate security needs, and I urge members of the House to quickly take up this important legislation and send it to the president’s desk without further delay.”

Mr. Shelby, Alabama Republican, earlier had proposed $632.9 million in emergency aid to fund the National Guard and Capitol Police but wanted to postpone additional security upgrades to the Capitol.

Democrats on the panel later released a comprehensive $3.7 billion bill — nearly twice the price tag of the House-passed proposal — that would add several other measures, including $1.3 billion in Pentagon COVID-19 related funds, to the funding for the National Guard and Capitol Police.

Mr. Leahy and Mr. Shelby announced Tuesday that they had reached a deal on the $2 billion package.

Several Republicans objected to the bill late Tuesday and Wednesday before the votes were lined up early Thursday. Sen. Mike Braun, Indiana Republican, voiced his objections to the spending before the vote.

“Emergencies arise and the biggest threat to dealing with them, in my opinion, is fiscal irresponsibility in D.C.,” he said. “We could have easily paid for the major parts of this legislation with offsets within the DOD. I think our spending process is broken at every level. We don’t do budgets anymore. We vote that the rules don’t matter. It seems like Congress can only agree on one thing, deficits and debt don’t matter anymore. But they do, and both parties are to blame.”

The House is expected to take up the measure this week, before sending it to President Biden for his signature.

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