- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 27, 2021

The Senate Appropriations Committee reached a deal Tuesday to reimburse the National Guard and U.S. Capitol Police for deployments during the Jan. 6 riot.

The funding had been held up by a partisan fight over including extra funding, with the holdup creating a budget crunch that threatened to force National Guard units to cancel training.

The deal would provide a $2 billion security supplemental bill that would pay back Capitol Police and the National Guard.

“We have the responsibility to take care of the Capitol Police in the wake of their incredible service on January 6th, and to reimburse our National Guard for costs incurred protecting the Capitol,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, Vermont Democrat, said in announcing the deal. “We have the responsibility to pay for costs we have already incurred as a result of the pandemic.”

The bill provides $400 million for Capitol Police and increased security measures for the Capitol and $521 million for the National Guard. The bill also provides over $1 billion for the Afghan Special Immigrant Visa and refugee resettlement assistance divided between the Pentagon, State Department, and Health and Human Services.

The House had passed a $1.9 billion emergency spending bill in May that included funds to reimburse the Capitol Police and National Guard, as well as and other measures aimed at improving security at the Capitol complex. But the bill stalled in the Senate.

Senate Republicans balked at the total size of the bill. Earlier this month, Senate Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Richard Shelby proposed $632.9 million in emergency aid to fund the National Guard and Capitol Police, but postpone additional security upgrades to the Capitol.

Democrats on the panel later released a comprehensive $3.7 billion bill — nearly twice the price tag of the House-passed proposal — that would add several other measures, including $1.3 billion in Pentagon COVID-19 related funds, to the funding for the National Guard and Capitol Police.

“I am pleased this legislation sticks to immediate security needs, as I have long advocated,” Mr. Shelby, Alabama Republican, said. “It is essential that we provide the National Guard and Capitol Police the funding they require without further delay.”

Mr. Leahy and Mr. Shelby both supported the funding proposed for Afghan resettlement initiatives.

“It is also critical that we not leave behind those who helped us in Afghanistan once President Biden fully withdraws U.S. troops later this year,” Mr. Shelby said.

Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, warned lawmakers last month that if the service was not reimbursed “fairly soon” they may be forced to cancel or dramatically reduce training and drills for the rest of the fiscal year and slash operational maintenance requirements. He said the Guard tapped into its budget to fund the deployment of 26,000 personnel to the nation’s capital from every state and territory in the U.S. The deployment lasted from Jan. 6 until May 23.

Late last week the Nebraska National Guard announced that it had begun cutting training events due to the lack of funding from Congress.

Lawmakers in both the House and the Senate are pressing for a final vote by the end of this week before Congress adjourns for August recess.

• Joseph Clark can be reached at jclark@washingtontimes.com.

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