Congress passed a $2.1 billion emergency security supplemental bill on Thursday to pay the National Guard and Capitol Police for their lengthy security mission at the U.S. Capitol.
Illinois National Guard Adjutant General Richard Neely told WLDS earlier this month that the Illinois National Guard was facing a $31 million deficit that would have caused furloughs, pay cuts, and postponement of drill weekends and crucial training. Neely remained optimistic that Congress would act to aid the situation.
The bill provides $521 million to reimburse the National Guard for the cost of deployment to Capitol Hill that lasted roughly 4 ½ months. The bill was also provides a special immigrant visa program for refugees from Afghanistan after U.S. Armed Forces began exiting the country early this month. A $1.125 billion portion of the bill will help to provide asylum to refugees attempting to flee the Taliban. The bill makes specific changes to the visa program, including increasing the number of authorized visas by 8,000 and lowering an employment eligibility requirement from two years to one.
13th District Congressman Rodney Davis, who voted in favor of the bill said in a statement after the vote that it was a great example of bi-partisanship that both Republicans and Democrats should build on: “This is a great example of what can happen when Republicans and Democrats come together to support our National Guard members and Capitol Police Officers. This long overdue funding will prevent layoffs and furloughs in National Guard units across the country and ensure rank-and-file USCP officers continue to get paid. Because Congress acted, the Illinois National Guard will avoid a $31 million shortfall in funding, ensuring operational readiness. I hope Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi will learn from the Senate’s bipartisan success and follow suit when it comes to reforming our security posture on Capitol Hill.”
Illinois Senator Tammy Duckworth issued the following statement on the passage of the bill: “We owe a debt of gratitude to the National Guard Members and United States Capitol Police officers who answered the call on January 6th, repelled the insurrection and held the line—protecting members of Congress and our democracy. But the fact is, the reason it took so long for a bipartisan compromise is that many Republicans didn’t want to acknowledge what happened at the Capitol on January 6. By making this investment now, we can help to prevent future attacks and make sure that the members of the Capitol Police and National Guard who kept us safe on January 6—even as they put themselves in harm’s way—are supported well into the future. But the only way we can truly prevent something like this from happening again is stopping an insurrection at our Capitol again and not giving space to the lies and conspiracy theories that lead to January 6.”
Fellow Senator Dick Durbin railed against Republicans in the Senate after the passage of the bill: “In the convoluted political world we live in, Republicans in the Senate actually debated for weeks whether to pay the expenses of the Capitol Police and National Guardsmen who protected us on and after January 6. It is hard to explain the depths we have reached when it comes to common sense and common decency.”
The emergency bill now heads to President Joe Biden for his signature.