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$1.9B security bill would harden Capitol campus, create dedicated quick reaction force

The bill would also pay more than $500 million for the National Guard deployment at the Capitol since January.

WASHINGTON — The House Committee on Appropriations released a $1.9 billion proposal Friday that would upgrade security at the Capitol and cover millions of dollars of overtime and hazard pay for officers who defended the building on January 6.

The emergency security supplemental, H.R. 3237, comes in part In response to recommendations from the Task Force 1-6 Capitol Security Review led by retired Lt. General Russel L. Honoré. That review included a number of sweeping security recommendations, including adding additional officers and providing body-worn cameras for all members of the Capitol Police.

The $1.9 billion supplemental, which still needs Congressional approval, contains dozens of line items, among them:

  • $520.9 million for the National Guard deployment at the Capitol from January 6 through May 23.
  • $66.8 million to the District of Columbia Emergency Planning and Security Fund for costs incurred in its response to the January 6 insurrection.
  • $40 million for the Architect of The Capitol to pay for costs directly related to the January 6 insurrection.
  • $39.5 million to the Department of Justice to help process the more than 500 cases currently filed in the Capitol riot.
  • $31.1 million to backfill overtime until the Capitol Police can hire, train and deploy more officers, including $6.9 million in hazard pay.

Almost three-quarters of a billion dollars is allocated directly to defending the Capitol against future threats. That includes:

  • $250 million for physical security upgrades, including retractable or “pop-up” fencing and security sensors.
  • $200 million to create a dedicated quick reaction force to augment the Capitol Police, equivalent to the 113th Wing within the District of Columbia Air National Guard at Joint Base Andrews.
  • $162.7 million for window and door hardening at the U.S. Capitol building.

The supplemental also allocates more than $4 million for Wellness and Trauma Support, including six new mental health counselors, and renames the Capitol Police wellness program the Howard C. “Howie” Liebengood Center for Wellness.

Liebengood, a 15-year veteran of the Capitol Police force, died by suicide days after responding to the Capitol riot. His father, Howard Liebengood Sr., had served as the Senate sergeant-at-arms for two years from 1981-1983.

House Appropriations Committee Chair Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) said the bill addresses urgent security needs identified by the Capitol Security Review.

“This emergency supplemental appropriation addresses the direct costs of the insurrection and strengthens Capitol security for the future,” DeLauro said in a statement Friday. “It is also long overdue recognition of the work of the Capitol Police, the sacrifices that they and their families have made, and the changes they need.”

Also Friday, the top Democrat and Republican on the House Homeland Security Committee announced a compromise agreement to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the January 6 Capitol riot.

The full House is expected to consider both bills next week.