Just weeks before Capitol Police are due to deplete funding that was drained by the Jan. 6 riot, the top Democrat and Republican on a key Senate panel unveiled dramatically different proposals to rescue the agency's dire finances.
Senate Appropriations Committee Chair Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., introduced a $3.6 billion measure, which would direct $679.3 million toward Capitol Police and related security efforts. Meanwhile, the panel's ranking Republican, Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, unveiled a much smaller $632.9 million package to direct funds just to Capitol Police and the National Guard.
"My Republican colleagues are proposing that we deal with these problems piecemeal — address some of them now, and others sometime, somewhere, someday," Leahy said on the Senate floor while introducing his bill late Monday. "But a piecemeal approach that jumps from one problem to the next is no way to govern. I've been here long enough to know that a promise to do it later is no promise at all."
The measures come nearly two months after House Democrats approved their own $1.9 billion proposal, which was soon met with a tepid reaction in the Senate. The House plan would direct nearly $1 billion to boost Capitol Police and security for members of Congress, with another large share of money set to reimburse the National Guard and other federal agencies for their work related to Jan. 6.
House Democrats approved their bill on a razor thin margin of 213 to 212, with a few members of their party joining Republicans to vote against it, NPR reports.
Leahy's proposal, by comparison, would expand on funding pandemic-related costs for several federal agencies and new assistance in the form of visas and other support for U.S. allies in Afghanistan.
Shelby suggested such other programs should be addressed in other bills.