Congress passes bill to fund Capitol security, Afghan visas – Times of India

WASHINGTON: Congress has overwhelmingly handed emergency laws that might bolster safety on the Capitol, repay excellent money owed from the violent January 6 revolt and enhance the quantity of visas for allies who labored alongside Americans within the Afghanistan battle.
The $2.1 billion bill now goes to President Joe Biden for his signature. The Senate authorized the laws early Thursday afternoon, 98-0, and the House handed it instantly afterward, 416-11.
Senators struck a bipartisan settlement on the laws this week, two months after the House had handed a bill that might have supplied round twice as a lot for Capitol safety. But House leaders stated they might again the Senate model anyway, arguing the cash is urgently wanted for the Capitol Police and for the translators and others who labored intently with US authorities troops and civilians in Afghanistan.
The bill loosens some necessities for the visas, which lawmakers say are particularly urgent because the US army withdrawal enters its ultimate weeks and Afghan allies face attainable retaliation from the Taliban.
The cash for the Capitol — together with for police salaries, the National Guard and to higher safe home windows and doorways across the constructing — comes greater than six months after the revolt by former President Donald Trump’s supporters. The broad help in each chambers is a uncommon word of settlement between the 2 events in response to the assault, as many Republicans nonetheless loyal to Trump have prevented the topic. The former president’s loyalists brutally beat police and a whole bunch of them broke into the constructing, interrupting the certification of Biden’s election win.
Democrats have stated that if Congress did not cross the bill, cash would begin working out for officers’ salaries by August and that the National Guard may need to cancel some coaching applications.
“We can’t let that happen,” Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer stated earlier than the vote. He stated the settlement “shouldn’t have taken this long” however that passing the laws resides up to Congress’ accountability to hold the Capitol protected “and to make sure that the people who risk their lives for us and protect us get the help they need.” The bill’s passage comes after 4 cops who fought off the rioters within the January 6 assault testified in an emotional House listening to on Tuesday and detailed the “medieval” battle through which they had been overwhelmed and verbally assaulted. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi prompt on Wednesday that the listening to had maybe “jarred the Senate to move in a bipartisan way to pass this legislation.”
The extra beneficiant bill narrowly handed the House in May, however no Republicans supported it and a few liberal Democrats voted towards it as nicely. On Thursday, solely 11 Republicans and Democrats opposed it.
In the Senate, Republicans rejected an earlier $3.7 billion proposal by Democrats earlier than they negotiated the ultimate model.
Pelosi stated on Wednesday that the laws was months overdue.
“It’s not what we sent, it’s certainly not what we need, but it’s a good step forward,” she stated. “It doesn’t mean that we’re finished, but it does mean that we can’t wait another day until we strengthen the Capital Police force, strengthen the Capitol.” The laws would enhance private safety for lawmakers who’ve seen rising dying threats because the revolt, set up new safety cameras across the advanced and change riot gear the police misplaced within the preventing that day. It would fund new intelligence gathering and enhance wellness and trauma help for the Capitol Police, as many troops are nonetheless struggling within the wake of the assault. And it could reimburse the National Guard $521 million for the 1000’s of troops that protected the Capitol for greater than 4 months after the siege.
Unlike earlier proposals, the bill wouldn’t present cash for the FBI to prosecute instances associated to the revolt, for momentary fencing in case of one other assault or to create a brand new fast response pressure inside the police or army that would reply to occasions on the Capitol. Police had been overrun on Jan. 6 because the National Guard took hours to arrive.
The White House issued an announcement of help for the laws, saying the Biden administration backs the Capitol safety enhancements and “remains committed to supporting the Afghan people, including by fulfilling our commitment to Afghan nationals who worked for or on behalf of the U.S. Government.”
For the allies in Afghanistan, the bill would permit 8,000 extra visas and supply $500 million for his or her emergency transportation, housing and different important providers.
Alabama Sen. Richard Shelby, the highest Republican on the appropriations panel who negotiated the laws with the Democrats, stated it could be “shameful” not to assist the Afghan allies and that they could possibly be killed by the Taliban because the U.S. withdraws.

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