Congress passed an overwhelming amount of emergency legislation to strengthen security at the Capitol, pay off outstanding debts from Jan. 6’s violent insurrection, and increase visas for allies who fought alongside Americans in Afghanistan.
President Joe Biden will now sign the $2.1 billion bill. The legislation was approved by the Senate on Thursday afternoon. It was passed immediately by the House, 416-11
Two months after the House passed a bill providing twice the amount for Capitol security, senators reached a bipartisan agreement this week. House leaders indicated that they would support the Senate’s version, saying the money was urgently needed to fund the Capitol Police, translators, and other personnel who work closely with the U.S. government troops in Afghanistan.
The bill relaxes certain visa requirements, which lawmakers consider urgent as the U.S. military withdraws from Afghanistan in its final weeks. In addition to possible Taliban retaliation, the bill also eases some of the restrictions.
The money for Capitol, which includes funds for police salaries, National Guard and better security windows and doors around it, comes six months after the uprising by supporters of former President Donald Trump. As many Republicans loyal to Trump remain aloof to Trump, the broad support in both chambers shows that there is rare agreement between the parties. The ex-president’s loyalists beat the police brutally and hundreds broke into the building to disrupt the certification of Biden’s election win.
Democrats claim that if Congress fails to pass the bill, officers’ salaries would run out by August. The National Guard may also have to cancel training programs.
Before the vote, Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader, stated that “We cannot let that happen.” Although he said that the agreement shouldn’t have taken so long, he stated that Congress is fulfilling its responsibility to keep Capitol safe and to ensure that those who risk their lives to protect us receive the help they require.