House Democrats' $1.9 billion virtue-signaling bill to beef up Capitol Security was almost derailed by progressive members of their own party on Thursday, after several members of "the squad" voted "no" - while three voted "present" - leading to a razor-thin passage by a 213-212 vote.
According to The Hill: Democratic Reps. Cori Bush (Mo.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) all voted “no,” while Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Jamaal Bowman (N.Y.) voted “present.”
Had all of them voted "no" it would have tanked the legislation.
House Democratic leaders held open a procedural vote right before the final passage of the security funding bill for more than an hour as they tamped down the last-minute progressive protest.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and other House Democratic leaders could be seen intensely huddling on the House floor with House Appropriations Committee Chairwoman Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) and the progressive lawmakers threatening to vote against the bill.
Bowman said that he was “concerned about adding additional funding to a police budget that's already very large and bloated.” -The Hill
The bill allocates $44 million for Capitol Police, including new funding for overtime pay, beefed up intelligence, training, new equipment, and trauma support for officers (who shoot Trump supporters?). The bill also allocates $200 million for a "quick reaction force" within the DC National Guard who can serve as backup to the Capitol Police. $40 million more is earmarked to help pay for repairs to the Capitol following the January 6 'insurrection' by Trump supporters challenging the results of the 2020 election, while $529 million would go towards upgrading the building's security - including hardening doors and windows and expanding screening areas.
Minutes after The Squad broke from their party and joined the Republicans, Black Lives Matter chimed in - thanking Bowman and The Squad for "opposing this violent waste of money."
The attacks on January 6th were a symbol of white supremacy. We don't respond to white supremacy by giving more money to the police. Period.— Black Lives Matter (@Blklivesmatter) May 20, 2021
Thank you to @IlhanMN, @AyannaPressley, @CoriBush, @AOC, @JamaalBowmanNY, and @RashidaTlaib for opposing this violent waste of money.
The stunt angered fellow Democrats, who criticized Squad members for their insolence.
"That kind of gotcha thing does not help," one liberal Democrat told The Hill. "I don't know what their argument was, but it was not a very good one."
Rep. Kay Granger (TX), the top GOP member on the House Appropriations Committee, said the bill raises "serious concerns about the role of our military on American soil."
Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said she was never considering an opposition vote herself, but she defended the liberals who went that route, saying they not only voted their consciences, but also highlighted important concerns that Democrats will have to address going forward.
"I think they were really voting based on what they thought was right,” Jayapal said. “The sooner we know those issues, both from leadership and from our members, the more effective we'll be able to be at getting to a resolution."
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), another staunch liberal, also predicted that Democrats are not done grappling with the issues of law enforcement, race and the thorny intersection of the two.
"This is going to be an ongoing issue, the disparate treatment of people on Jan. 6 and the Black Lives Matte [protesters]. There's no question about it,” Schakowsky said. “I guess the word is reckon these days. It's a reckoning.” -The Hill
According to Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD), internal frictions over police funding were exacerbated by the House's separate bill to create an outside commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack.
"The strong point people were making is that the commission hasn't met yet so we don't know completely what the security requirements are going to be," said Raskin. "On the other hand, we have a security emergency that we need to respond to. We both need to pay for what happened on Jan. 6 and install a whole bunch of changes now just to make ourselves safe. So I think that that was the awkwardness of it."