Published by Andrew Solender on Forbes on May 18, 2021
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House Republicans have proposed a series of no-shot amendments to Democrats’ $1.9 billion Capitol security funding bill that would divert funds to unrelated projects and wind down post-Jan. 6 security measures – a sign that the worsening partisan divide on Jan. 6 extends to ideas on how to prevent future attacks.
Rep. Bob Good (R-Va.) proposed amendments diverting $350 million for enhancements to the Capitol’s security infrastructure and emergency response and $2.7 million for Capitol Police roadblocks and riot gear to instead fund the U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Reps. Ted Budd (R-N.C.) and Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) also filed an amendment that would take the measure’s prohibition on permanent fencing a step further, prohibiting spending on metal detectors that were set up outside the House chamber.
Another amendment from Good would scrap a proposed $67 million reimbursement to Washington, D.C., for their Jan. 6 response, while Budd and Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-N.D.) proposed requiring pre-pandemic Capitol tours to resume before funds can be spent.
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.), who has used footage of the attack to downplay its severity, proposed suspending funding until Capitol security camera footage between Jan. 1 and 6 is released.
The amendments are all likely to fail given Democratic control of the House, but they highlight an attitude proliferating among Republican lawmakers that the Jan. 6 attack was overblown and that shoring up Capitol security against future threats is not a priority.
Republicans have ramped up their rhetoric downplaying the severity of the attack in recent weeks, with Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) comparing it to a “normal tourist visit” and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) disputing that it was truly an “armed” insurrection. Most recently, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to the House floor on Tuesday to compare the attack to last year’s riots, asking “are those not insurrections?”
$530 million. That’s roughly how much of the money would be allocated to the architect of the Capitol to upgrade Capitol security, including hardening windows and doors, installing new cameras and potentially installing “retractable” fencing. Funds would also go to reimbursing the National Guard for their deployment to the Capitol since Jan. 6, funding the Justice Department’s efforts to prosecute the rioters and bulking up security for federal judges and court buildings.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Both the supplemental spending bill and the bipartisan Jan. 6 commission are likely to pass the House but face a serious hurdle in the Senate, where 10 Republican votes would be needed on top of 50 Democratic ones to overcome a filibuster. A wide swath of Senate Republicans have expressed hesitancy to both measures, meaning they would likely need to be substantially rewritten to pass