House Democrats want to flat-fund the Capitol Police at $464 million and aim to increase transparency by urging the force to create a system for public information requests, similar to the Freedom of Information Act process. They would also call on the Capitol Police to report on diversity in the ranks and racial profiling, as well as further explain their jurisdiction and review inspector general reports to decide what can be made public.
The bill allows legislative branch offices to employ Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients. It does not include a pay increase for Congress, following Republican balking last year over consideration of a cost-of-living adjustment for lawmakers.
The overall bill would provide the House, the Congressional Budget Office, the Capitol Police and other parts of government with a total of $4.2 billion, which amounts to about a 5 percent funding hike.
The Government Accountability Office would receive a 5 percent budget hike, to $664.3 million. The package also includes $11.4 million to pay interns, $29 million for Democratic and Republican leadership and $2 million for modernization efforts.
Key context: Requiring the removal of Confederate statues in the Capitol almost certainly sinks the bill’s chances of becoming law before government funding runs out at the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed for the removal of statues amid nationwide protests against systemic racism and police brutality. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said the fate of the markers should be up to states that donated them.
“Every state is allowed two statues. They can trade them out any time,” McConnell told reporters last month. “A number of states are trading them out now, but I think that’s the appropriate way to deal with the statue issue. The states make that decision.”
Separately, the House is voting later this month to remove the bust of former Chief Justice Taney, and Pelosi has already scrapped four portraits of former speakers who served in the Confederacy.
President Donald Trump has also threatened to veto annual defense policy legislation over a bipartisan provision that would remove Confederate names from military bases.
What’s next: House appropriators will mark up the bill in subcommittee on Tuesday at 1 p.m., with a full committee markup scheduled for Friday.
Senate Republicans have yet to launch their appropriations process, embroiled in arguments over coronavirus relief, police reform and other issues.