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The Squad Puts Down Its Foot

Before the House took off for another interminable paid vacation, they passed Rosa DeLauro's H.R. 3237 (Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act, 2021) today... but barely: 213-212. The bill provides $1.9 billion in emergency supplemental appropriations for the legislative branch and federal agencies to respond to the attack on the U.S. Capitol Complex that occurred on January 6, 2021. Because it's "emergency funding," it is exempt from Pelosi's asinine PAYGO rule. The bill uses the appropriations for:

  • security-related upgrades,

  • repairs to facilities damaged by the attack,

  • reimbursements for the costs of responding to the attack,

  • support for prosecutions,

  • the establishment of a quick reaction force within the District of Columbia National Guard to assist the Capitol Police, and

  • legislative branch expenses related to COVID-19 (i.e., coronavirus disease 2019).

Pelosi was lucky that John Carter (R-TX) and Daniel Webster (R-FL) weren't in DC today. Every Republican voted against the bill-- but not every Democrat did. In fact, the best Democrats didn't. I'll explain why in a moment. Cori Bush (St. Louis), Ayanna Pressley (Boston) and Ilhan Omar (Minneapolis) voted NO and AOC (NYC), Rashida Tlaib (Detroit) and Jamaal Bowman (Westchester/Bronx) voted "Present," denying Pelosi 6 votes. She was lucky that Chuy Garcia, Mondaire Jones, Nikema Williams, Marie Newman, Ro Khanna, Jamie Raskin, Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal didn't going them.

Progressives weren't keen on the bill because they saw a clear double standard at the way police have handled largely peaceful Black Lives Matter protests and the violent Trumpist insurrection. Bush, Omar and Pressley issued a joint statement:

On January 6th, some Republican Members of Congress and the former President incited an insurrection that they refuse to accept responsibility for and continue to deny to this day. A bill that pours $1.9 billion into increased police surveillance and force without addressing the underlying threats of organized and violent white supremacy, radicalization, and disinformation that led to this attack will not prevent it from happening again. Increasing law enforcement funds does not inherently protect or safeguard the Capitol Hill or surrounding D.C. community. In fact, this bill is being passed before we have any real investigation into the events of January 6th and the failures involved because Republicans have steadfastly obstructed the creation of a January 6th commission.
The bill also does far too little to address the unspeakable trauma of the countless officers, staff, and support workers who were on site that day-- dedicating fifty times more money to the creation of a ‘quick reaction force’ than it does to counseling. We cannot support this increased funding while many of our communities continue to face police brutality while marching in the streets, and while questions about the disparate response between insurrectionists and those protesting in defense of Black lives go unanswered.
While we appreciate the efforts of our colleagues to put forth a supplemental that provides necessary pay to our essential workers, there must be a comprehensive investigation and response to the attack on our Capitol and our democracy, one that addresses the root cause of the insurrection: white supremacy. This bill prioritizes more money for a broken system that has long upheld and protected the white supremacist violence we saw on display that day.
We look forward to working towards systemic policy solutions that meet the scale and scope of the crises our communities and our nation face.

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