Congress confronts divide over Capitol Police and eyes more security funding after Pelosi attack
House Democrats are gearing up for a critical vote Tuesday on funding new security measures for the Capitol Police and the Internal Revenue Service. But it will be very difficult for them to win the support of a divided Republican conference, where many lawmakers and lobbyists are now talking openly about how to deal with the escalating issues around the U.S. Capitol.
The House Democrats, who have been locked in an all-night negotiation with the President over the $5 billion President Trump said he wants for the police, are now ready to vote as a bloc on a measure to fund the police. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Monday that the measure is needed to protect the public, which she called an “urgent” issue.
“We are here tonight to say to the President, and to the world, loud and clear: Our people are under threat,” Pelosi said on the House floor. “They are at risk. They are the American public.”
Democrats want to vote on the package as early as Wednesday, but there is a potential hitch there. The White House announced Monday that, “to get the necessary support from both sides of the aisle,” the House would have to pass the measure immediately and send it to the Senate, where it would likely pass with strong Republican majorities and be sent to Trump to sign. Such a move could only be made if the majority of the Senate were to go along with the President.
But the Senate could well be reluctant to get involved with a major measure like this given that it could be used as a political football and force Democrats to pass it before time is up, giving the political narrative a short shelf life.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement Tuesday night saying, “The President and I have discussed this matter extensively and remain hopeful that