On Thursday, the House of Representatives passed an almost $2 billion spending package to help boost up security at the Capitol in light of the riot and siege that took place back in January.
The vast majority of Republicans opposed the measure, which managed to pass with very, very close vote of 213-212, with three Democrats voting “present” and three joining Republicans in opposing the legislation.
Those opposed to the bill cited duplicative spending and also objected to a provision in the legislation that adds the National Guard to the Capitol’s security force.
The bill passed just one day after Democrats and a group of 35 Republicans voted to make a commission to investigate the Capitol riot.
“This bill is a first step toward having more security for the building that lodges the legislative branch of government,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, a California Democrat went on to say.
The Capitol perimeter has been protected by an 8-foot fence since shortly after Jan. 6. That day, hundreds of angry protesters supporting then-President Donald Trump pushed their way into the building, smashing doors and windows and injuring overwhelmed police officers in a quest to track down lawmakers voting to certify Joe Biden the winner of the presidential election.
The measure lawmakers passed on Friday aims to replace the permanent fence and the daily presence of the National Guard with improved security and infrastructure that would make the Capitol more resistant to a Jan. 6-style attack.
The House vote was delayed. Democrats control a bare majority, and several liberal lawmakers objected to parts of the bill. Democratic leaders needed the time to twist arms within their own caucus since it appeared Republicans would vote against the bill and leave passage in jeopardy.
The bill dedicates $529 million to help harden security at the Capitol with stronger and sturdier doors and windows, along with new screening vestibules for law enforcement. It would also provide funding for a retractable fencing that could be deployed lickety-split if some sort of riot broke out again.
“The measure also includes more than $10 million for police equipment, including body cameras and riot gear, which officers said was lacking on the day of the riots and left them underequipped to fend off the rioters,” the Examiner report says.
Another provision in the legislation would provide all law enforcement at the Capitol to have body cameras.