Courtney Discusses Future of U.S. Capitol Security Following January 6 Riots

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It's been seven months since the riots at the U.S. Capitol, a day that left our democracy shaken as thousands of protesters stormed the building.

The impacts of January 6, 2021, are still apparent.

There were 26,000 National Guard troops deployed to Washington D.C. from across the country, including many from Connecticut. The cost of that mission totaled $521 million, and that's on top of the actual damage to the Capitol, and the need for increased security in the future.

Members of Congress are addressing that this week.

Congressman Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, was among those who voted to pass the Emergency Security Supplemental to Respond to January 6th Appropriations Act (H.R. 3237), legislation that addresses the safety of the U.S. Capitol.

"January 6 is still on people’s minds. It exposed a lot of vulnerabilities. The security supplemental vote yesterday addressed a good measure of the weaknesses that I think we know now exist at the Capitol," Courtney said.

The bill will also provide funding for back pay for Capitol Police officers, Courtney pointed out.

"One hundred forty of them were injured missed work and they incurred a lot of overtime. This stabilizes the Capitol Police budget. It also provides some hazardous pay, which they obviously deserved with the threats they faced in the amazing job they did to protect Congress," he said. It also includes funding for new hiring to make up for those who chose to leave after those events.

The bill also includes physical security changes, including changes to windows, doors and new cameras.

Lastly, they also provided reimbursement to the National Guard units that came to Washington in the wake of January 6. Connecticut National Guard was part of the post-January 6 security. They were about to run into a budget whole of $2.3 million. This vote yesterday will cover the Connecticut National Guard's finances to make sure that they’re going to continue to do weekend drills and so many other things that are National Guard is in our state," Courtney said.

Courtney said the day still weighs heavily on him and many of his colleagues.

"We all had our own little slice of our own experience that day. Certainly we’ve been able to assemble all the slices with videotape, security footage, body cameras. Now that realization is even deeper how close we came to just totally losing control of that space. As a great nation, we've got to do everything we can to rebalance and to make sure people know that our democracy is strong."

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