U.S. Senator Richard Shelby, R-Alabama, on Thursday applauded the Senate’s passage of a $2 billion security supplemental appropriations bill, which advanced by a vote of 98 to 0.
“It’s past time we provide urgently-needed funding to safeguard the Capitol, ensure National Guard readiness, and protect our allies in Afghanistan,” Shelby said. “I am pleased the Senate has advanced this bipartisan bill to fund our immediate security needs, and I urge members of the House to quickly take up this important legislation and send it to the President’s desk without further delay.”
The legislation provides $100 million for the Capitol Police, $300 million for increased Capitol security measures, and just over $1 billion for the Department of Defense, which includes more than $500 million for the National Guard and $500 million for Afghan Special Immigrant Visa program needs.
The agreement also includes $600 million for the State Department and $25 million for the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Refugee Resettlement to address Afghan SIV needs, following an urgent request from the Biden administration.
The House passed the legislation just hours after it passed the Senate.
The National Guard funding is an important issue for U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Alabama. Rogers is the ranking member on the House Armed Services Committee.
Following House passage of funding for the National Guard, Rogers said: “It is about time that Congress finally passed a clean bill to fund the National Guard. Speaker Pelosi’s partisan political grandstanding earlier this year came at the expense of the National Guard. Without securing this urgent funding, National Guard units would have been forced to cancel critical training – harming readiness levels and degrading the National Guard’s ability to meet national security commitments.”
Under the agreement, more than $400 million will go to the United States Capitol Police, of which nearly $71 million is in response to the Jan. 6 Capitol breach. Those additional funds will support paying overtime, hiring more officers, offering hazard pay and giving out retention bonuses.
The deal also helps to resettle Afghans who had worked for the U.S. in roles such as interpreters. The Biden administration is in the process of withdrawing the U.S. from Afghanistan. The Taliban has taken over 50 percent of the country as the U.S. has pulled back its forces. Former U.S. interpreters are being hunted down and assassinated by the Taliban as they take territory formerly held by the U.S.-led coalition.
The bill, however, doesn’t address the crisis on America’s southern border where border crossings are up 474 percent over last year. The bill now goes to President Joe Biden, who is expected to sign it into law.
Shelby is the vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations. He is retiring from the Senate when his current term ends at the end of next year.