More than six months after the deadly Capitol insurrection, the final temporary security structure is coming down, but there are still plenty of concerns about how the campus will be protected going forward and if Capitol Police will have the resources they need to bolster security just months after a deadly riot.
The fencing, topped with razor wire, that once wrapped around the entire Capitol Hill campus and now only surrounds Capitol Square, will be completely be removed by the time lawmakers return to session next week.
While the physical signs of the security flaws from January 6 will be gone, the House and Senate have yet to come to an agreement on a wide ranging funding package designed to boost Capitol security, plug some of the holes discovered in the wake of January 6 and inject cash into the beleaguered Capitol Police Department. USCP is facing staffing and recruitment shortages as many of their members deal with the fallout from the riots.
The Senate Appropriations chairman, Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, warned in June that the department could run out of money to fund basic operations by August.
In addition to the Capitol Police, the National Guard could be forced to cut back on training in August if new money is not appropriated. The National Guard outlined the slew of training programs and spending that would have to be cut if Congress does not provide them funding by August 1.
The House passed a $1.9 billion security supplemental in May, but the legislation has languished in the Senate. The House passed their bill without the backing of Democratic Senate counterparts and as a result both Democrat and Republican senators have issues with the legislation that they are trying to resolve.
Leahy has a good working relationship with Sen. Richard Shelby of Alabama, the Republican ranking member on the Appropriations panel, and their staffs have been trading proposals backing forth, aides say.
But they too have run into road blocks. While they continue to negotiate, a Senate Democrat aide told CNN that their difference could come to a head as they get closer to the funding running dry. The urgent needs, setting the stakes for an important round of deal making at the same time the Congress takes up an incredibly busy July that includes tackling issues like infrastructure, voting rights and police reform.
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