The security supplemental funding bill will provide funding for the Capitol Police, the National Guard and other law enforcement partners to cover costs incurred during the insurrection. The legislation would help ensure the Capitol is protected in the future by paying for security upgrades at the Capitol complex. Funding is also set aside for expenses related to Covid-19 response at the Capitol and several other priorities.
The House of Representatives passed a $1.9 billion security spending bill in response to the January 6 attack in May. Since the Senate deal is a separate and new piece of legislation, the House will now need to take it up and pass the measure before it can be sent to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law.
The bill will provide $521 million to reimburse the National Guard for the cost of deployment to Capitol Hill and roughly $70 million to the Capitol Police to cover expenses incurred in response to the attack, according to a fact sheet released by Leahy’s office. An additional $300 million will be used to bolster safeguards for the Capitol complex, including funds for window and door upgrades and the installation of new security cameras.
In a sign of the bipartisan support behind the agreement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell praised the deal earlier in the week.
“I applaud the bipartisan work from our colleagues,” McConnell said. “I’m sure neither side finds the compromise perfect, but I believe that both sides should and will agree that it is absolutely necessary.”
Leahy told reporters that the final agreement wasn’t everything that he or Shelby wanted, but the deal was a product of quiet negotiations.
“Fortunately, the way we did it was not a whole lot of speeches and histrionics in the floor and press conferences. We met quietly,” Leahy said, noting his office near the Senate floor was a “very useful” place to meet.
To cover the cost of the Covid-19 response at the Capitol, $42.1 million will be provided, including $800,000 to reimburse the Capitol Police for expenses such as the use of personal protective equipment during the pandemic.
According to the fact sheet, the legislation will also provide humanitarian assistance for Afghan refugees, including $600 million to the Department of State “for refugee and migration assistance and to improve and strengthen the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program.”
The bill makes specific changes to the visa program, including increasing the number of authorized visas by 8,000 and lowering an employment eligibility requirement from two years to one.