U.S. House Democrats barely passed a $1.9 billion bill to fund security measures on Capitol Hill Thursday after progressive lawmakers objected to the premise of the legislation: that the Capitol Police and other security personnel need additional funding to better protect federal buildings in the wake of the January 6 insurrection.
The Emergency Security Supplemental, which was passed in a 213-212 vote, includes $43.9 million for the Capitol Police, $520.9 million to the National Guard, and $250 million for security improvements on the Capitol grounds.
“Instead of responding to crises with calls for more police, our response must be much more holistic. I do not support adding additional funding to already bloated police budgets.”
—Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.)
Progressives including Reps. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), and Cori Bush (D-Mo.) said a full accounting is needed of how hundreds of supporters of former President Donald Trump and white supremacists were able to break into the Capitol on January 6 as lawmakers voted to certify the 2020 election results—including whether Capitol Police officers were “complicit” in the attack.
Bowman, who voted “present” on the package,” said in a statement that the insurrection happened “not due to lack of police funding” but “because the threat of white supremacy has been enabled to spread and fester throughout our nation—including within law enforcement.”
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“That is something that still needs to be addressed by Congress and investigated thoroughly,” the congressman said, adding that “pouring billions more into policing” will not accomplish the goal of understanding whether some officers helped enable the attackers.
“Instead of responding to crises with calls for more police, our response must be much more holistic,” Bowman continued. “I do not support adding additional funding to already bloated police budgets.”
As Common Dreams reported in April, an internal agency investigation of the Capitol Police revealed that leaders of the agency ignored critical intelligence ahead of the mob attack, which killed five people. Some officers were also filmed reacting in a friendly manner to the January 6 attackers.
Reps. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) joined Bowman in voting “present” on the emergency supplemental package, while Bush, Omar, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) all voted “no” on the legislation.
Amira Hassan, political director for Justice Democrats, applauded Bush, Omar, and Pressley for “standing on principle.”
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