ECONOMY

Key GOP Senator Calls for Emergency Funding for Capitol Police

The Senate is turning its focus to a funding crisis caused by the Jan. 6 riot, with the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee on Friday calling for an emergency bill to fund the Capitol Police and National Guard.

Police furloughs and training cutbacks for the Guard loom as soon as next month in the wake of unanticipated bills from the response to the Jan. 6 riot caused by supporters of former President Donald Trump. While the House in May passed a $2 billion security bill, including money for a controversial new fence, that measure has so far stalled in the Senate.

“We should pass now what we all agree on: the Capitol Police and National Guard are running out of money, the clock is ticking, and we need to take care of them,” Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Richard Shelby, an Alabama Republican, said in an emailed statement Friday.

Shelby believes that wider discussions on a long-term funding increase for the police and for other security improvements should await the development of a comprehensive plan, according to a GOP aide.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick Leahy earlier Friday reiterated his call for immediate talks on a supplemental security spending bill this month. The Senate returns next week from an extended July 4 holiday.

‘Insurrection’ Budgeting

“We did not budget for an insurrection, and without action the Capitol Police will go without payment for the hours of overtime they have incurred, without proper equipment, and without sufficient mental health services to deal with the continued trauma from that day,” Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, said. “The National Guard, who poured into the Capitol from every State, now may need to cut training that they need to prepare for overseas deployments or response at home.”

Leahy said he has been ready to begin serious negotiations on a security supplemental.

“If we do not act it will be a security crisis of our own making,” he said.

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