Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Vice Chairman Richard Shelby (R-AL) on Tuesday announced a $2.1 billion bipartisan agreement that would bolster Capitol Hill security and fund the relocation of Afghans who helped the U.S. government during the war, according to top lawmakers in that chamber.
The bipartisan pact would end months of stalemate between the parties about how to pay for costs stemming from the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by pro-Trump rioters and other emergency spending matters.
“We have the responsibility to take care of the Capitol Police in the wake of their incredible service on January 6 and to reimburse our National Guard for costs incurred protecting the Capitol,” said Senator Leahy. “We have the responsibility to pay for costs we have already incurred as a result of the pandemic. And we have the moral responsibility to stand with our Afghan partners who stood with us through two decades of war. This bipartisan agreement addresses these critical needs, and it addresses them now because they cannot wait. I want to thank my dear friend Vice Chairman Shelby for his diligent work throughout this process.”
Leahy first made public back in June that if Congress failed to act, the Capitol Police would deplete salaries funds in August and that the National Guard would be forced to cancel necessary trainings as a result of expenses and overtime incurred from the January 6 insurrection. The Capitol complex also incurred expenses resulting from the COVID pandemic that were paid for by delaying other important projects.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said he’s seeking agreement with Republicans so the Senate can pass the package this week.
The $2.1 billion bipartisan agreement between Chairman Leahy and Vice-Chairman Shelby includes:
- $521 million to reimburse the National Guard;
- $70.7 million for Capitol Police to support overtime, more officers, hazard pay, and retention bonuses for the Capitol Police;
- $35.4 for the Capitol Police for mutual aid agreements with local, state, and federal law enforcement for securing the Capitol;
- $300 million to secure the Capitol complex;
- $42.1 million to respond to the COVID pandemic on the Capitol complex; and
- $1.125 billion for Afghan refugee assistance;
- 8,000 new Afghan Special Immigrant Visas with new reforms to the program to improve efficiency.The
The House passed a $1.9 billion supplemental spending bill in May with no Republican support and three Democrats voting “present.”
House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., said that if the Senate approves the measure this week, the House could vote on it before leaving at the end of the week for its summer break.