By Guy Page
Now that Sen. Pat Leahy (D-VT) chairs the Senate Appropriations, he can request just about any spending item he wants. And what he wants is a new SWAT team for the Capitol, and much more in response to the events of Jan. 6, a review of his $3.7 billion “emergency security supplemental” bill introduced this week shows.
Supplemental” spending is Congressspeak for “we didn’t know this would happen, we couldn’t budget for it, now give us more money to fix it. We can’t wait for next year.”
Two items of note: Leahy would create a brand-new, $27 million U.S. Capitol Protection Task Force, a rapid response team to deal with future threats.
Also, capitol police will get new body cams. But Americans concerned about protecting the Constitutional Rights of Congress and its staffers can sleep easy tonight. No footage of them may be shared with police, or anyone else, without them first being notified.
Here’s a partial list of the line items in the bill. Note: it’s heavy on paying for the last ‘Insurrection’ and preventing the next one.
$22 million is provided for the Department of Justice and United States Attorneys for ongoing prosecutions of those who attacked the U.S. Capitol on January 6.
$12 million to pay the FBI, ATF, Bureau of Prisons, and U.S. Marshalls for lending a helping hand January 6.
$25 million for improved security at federal courthouses.
$1.1 million to reimburse the state and local governments for providing security for president-elect Biden before his inauguration.
$521 million to “fully fund the cost of the National Guard deployment to Capitol Hill, which is urgently needed to prevent cancellation of summer drills for members of the Army National Guard and Air National Guard.”
About $250 million (more) for federal court security, re: Jan. 6:
“$122.5 million for the Judiciary to improve the security of judges and federal court facilities. An amount of $10 million is provided for additional staff, contractors, and automated tools to manage security vulnerabilities at the national, circuit, and district level and to address increasing threats against federal judges, their families, and federal court facilities, including threats tied to the pending criminal cases associated with the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. $112.5 million is provided to conduct a physical security assessment of approximately 450 primary U.S. Courthouses of the Judicial Branch, and upgrade perimeter security systems and equipment to withstand a hostile incursion like the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.”
$76 million to the U.S. Treasury to prevent money laundering, “including investigations related to the events of January 6.”
$67 million for the District of Columbia for unanticipated costs associated with the January 6th Capitol insurrection and other security requirements.
U.S. Secret Service (USSS) – $6.8 million for several security needs exposed by the January 6th
National Park Service – $9 million for overtime costs and resource damages that occurred
while responding on January 6th and to enhance security preparedness.
Responding to the January 6 Insurrection and Protecting the U.S. Capitol and Congress
TOTAL: $679.3 million, including:
• U.S. Capitol Police – $79.3 million in Salaries and General Expenses for the Capitol Police response to the January 6 attack and to meet urgent gaps and demands to protect the U.S. Capitol Complex, Members of Congress, congressional employees, and visitors, including:
- $31.1 million to backfill overtime expected until the Department can hire, train, and deploy more officers and benefits to retain current officers, including $6.9 million for hazard pay, $3.6 million for retention bonuses, and $2.5 million for tuition credits to help with retention;
- $4.4 million for Wellness and Trauma Support, including 6 new mental health counselors and wellness resilience specialists, and $2.5 million to reimburse for U.S. Marshals Service for peer-to-peer trauma support;
- $3.3 million for the Intelligence Division for intelligence analysts and technical resources;
- $5.8 million for protective details for Members of Congress due to increased threats and risk assessments;
- $5 million for Equipment and Services, including $2.7 million for reimbursement for equipment since the January 6 insurrection, $1.3 million for gas masks, tactical vests, body armor and other equipment, $900,000 for cellular phone capability, and $100,000 for legal support;
- $2.6 million to procure basic riot control equipment to outfit all officers with ballistic helmets, batons, and body shields;
- $6.8 million for Capitol Police specialized training, including $3.3 million for collective threat, cyber, intelligence, and counter assault training; $2.6 million for physical protection barriers and Civil Disturbance Unit (CDU) equipment; and $880,000 for specialized vehicles and tactics training for the CDU; and
- $8.6 million to provide body cameras for Capitol Police officers, whose job duties include interacting with the general public.
These cameras are in addition to the existing network of cameras in place to protect the Capitol Complex. To protect constitutional rights, the Capitol Police must notify any Senator, officer, or employee of the Senate involved before any footage is shared with a third party.
U.S. Capitol Protection Task Force – $27 million to create a dedicated, law enforcement-based U.S. Capitol Protection Task Force (Task Force), including the makeup, activation and resourcing of such a task force will ensure that a rapid response capability exists to be mobilized at the discretion of the Chief of Police for the United States Capitol Police. This Task Force would be composed mainly of law enforcement officers who have had significant training and experience in handling demonstrations, riots, and other large scale events requiring the deployment of civil disturbance units.
This law enforcement Task Force is proposed as an alternative to the approach in the House Security Supplemental bill, which would spend $200 million to stand up a 24 hour a day, 365 days a year National Guard force at the DC Armory under the control of the District of Columbia.
The bill also funds military spending on Covid, resettling Afghan refugees, and for programs for victims of domestic violence.