With few dissents, Congress on Thursday approved spending $2.1 billion to cover Capitol security costs and the evacuation and resettlement of Afghans who helped US forces during the 20-year war. The Capitol spending will repay costs incurred because of the Jan. 6 riot, as well as provide for security upgrades to the complex. Capitol Police have struggled with funding, staffing, and other crises since the attack, the New York Times reports, in addition to low morale. "The last six months have pushed those who protect the US Capitol to the limits," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said. "We must support them now, as they so courageously supported us," he added. The White House supported the emergency funding to help the refugees, per the Wall Street Journal, issuing a statement Thursday saying it's committed to "fulfilling our commitment to Afghan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the US government."
The spending bill includes:
- $520 million to repay the National Guard for its deployment to the Capitol after the January attack.
- $100 million for Capitol Police, to increase intelligence capability, improve civil disturbance training, add security details for members of Congress, and provide trauma support to officers, per the Washington Post.
- $300 million for security improvements such as hardening windows and doors and installing more cameras at the Capitol.
- $42 million to cover congressional expenses related to the pandemic, such as protective equipment, cleaning costs, overtime, and telecommuting equipment.
- $1.1 billion to help resettle Afghan refugees and their families, including emergency transportation and housing. The measure adds 8,000 special visas to the 26,500 already approved.
The House and Senate versions of the bill are not identical. The Senate measure doesn't have money to repay security costs to the District of Columbia, for example. A Democratic aide said that because the money is needed so urgently, the House won't hold up the Senate bill but will draft new legislation to cover the remaining expenses. (Read more Capitol riot