(PresidentialInsider.com)- On Tuesday, the Senate reached a bipartisan agreement to spend nearly one billion dollars to improve Capitol security ostensibly to prevent another three-hour riot like the one that erupted on January 6.
They could have accomplished the same thing for a lot less money just by passing legislation prohibiting Nancy Pelosi from rejecting offers for additional security next time it’s requested.
The agreement also authorizes $1.13 billion to assist getting the Afghans who worked with US forces out of Afghanistan to safety. Another $42 million was allotted to “COVID mitigation funding” for the Capitol complex – whatever that means.
In announcing the agreement, Senate Appropriations Committee chair Pat Leahy (D-VT) said that Congress has a responsibility to take care of the Capitol Police “in the wake of their incredible service on January 6th.”
Given how weepy the USCP witnesses were during Tuesday’s January 6 select committee hearing, hopefully the funding will include a few hundred cases of Kleenex and some security blankets.
The agreement includes reimbursing the National Guard for the costs it incurred when Pelosi decided to turn the Capitol into a war zone.
Providing the necessary funding to bring the Afghan refugees to safety is laudable. These are the people who aided US forces during the nearly 20-year conflict in Afghanistan. Leaving them behind puts them and their families at grave risk. And the US has an obligation to protect them.
However, adding that $1.13 billion for the Afghan refugees to an appropriations bill to increased funding for the US Capitol Police is a cynical ploy the purpose of which is to force Republicans into a corner. Nobody would want to vote against the funding to protect these Afghans. But now the only way to vote for that funding is to vote for the rest of the appropriations bill as well.
So it is unsurprising that on Thursday, both the House and the Senate passed the measure with overwhelming majorities supporting it.
In the Senate, the vote was 98 to zero. The House then passed the bill 416 to 11.
Among the eleven voting against it were the Defund the Police Squad — Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), Jamal Bowman (D-NY), Cori Bush (D-MO), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Rashida Tlaib (D-MI), and Ilhan Omar (D-MN).
House Republicans Chip Roy (TX), Thomas Massie (KY), Bob Good (VA), Tom McClintock (CA) and Ralph Norman (SC) voted against the measure as well.