Democrats Nearly Sink Capitol Security Upgrade

Passed by a single vote, after objections over more funding for police, bill goes to Senate
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 20, 2021 3:45 PM CDT
Capitol Security Bill Clears House By a Single Vote
Rep. Rosa DeLauro, left, appears with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday at the Capitol. DeLauro supported the Capitol security bill.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Without any help from Republicans and a group of their own members, House Democrats on Thursday approved a $1.9 billion plan to improve security at the US Capitol by a one-vote margin. Several progressive Democrats either sat out the vote or voted no, arguing that the Trump supporters who attacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 have been treated differently than Black Lives Matter protesters. A statement from Reps. Cori Bush, Ilhan Omar, and Ayanna Pressley said that in that light, they oppose more funding for Capitol police, the Hill reports. Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Jamaal Bowman voted "present." No Republicans voted for the measure. The legislation would cover repairs on the building; some windows haven't been fixed yet. The money would also buy body cameras for Capitol Police and riot equipment, per NBC.

Democratic Rep. Rose DeLauro, who leads the Appropriations Committee, defended the legislation on the House floor. "This bill is not about politics," she said. "It's not about settling scores. It's about ensuring that every person who comes onto the Capitol grounds is safe and is protected." Several members of both parties said they didn't agree with all of the bill and thought more time was needed to work on it. Republican Rep. Kay Granger questioned the creation of a "quick-response force" in the National Guard and the lack of Senate input. The measure would need the votes of 10 Republicans to pass the Senate. Among the senators who lack enthusiasm for it is Democrat Pat Leahy, who chairs the Appropriations Committee. "We must make sure we are making smart investments in our security based on lessons learned," he said last week. (Read more US Capitol stories.)

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