Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar was one of only three House Democrats to vote against a $1.9 billion spending bill that would heighten Capitol security after the Jan. 6 attack.
“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,” said Omar in a joint statement, along with representatives Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts and Cori Bush of Missouri. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Jamaal Bowman voted present.)
The legislation barely passed by a vote of 213 to 212, with three other Democrats voting neither for nor against.
The bill would spend nearly $530 million on Capitol complex improvements such as security screening and cameras, according to a summary of the legislation, as well as $200 million to create a “Quick Reaction Force to augment the Capitol Police.” Another $18 million would be spent on body cameras, training and riot control equipment for Capitol Police if signed into law.
The spending on the quick reaction force specifically drew the Democratic trio’s ire, who pointed out that much less money is focused on counseling services for people who were there on Jan. 6. They cited concerns over police brutality in local communities and the need for “a comprehensive investigation and response,” that speaks to the “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,” the Democrats’ statement said. Their opposition underscores the difficulties for Democrats in the House with a slim eight vote majority.
No House Republicans voted for the legislation, including the four GOP members from Minnesota.
“For months, Speaker Pelosi militarized the Capitol Hill campus and turned it into a compound,” Republican Rep. Jim Hagedorn said in a statement after Thursday’s vote. “It still remains on lockdown and a barrier to the American people. Now, the Democrats are pushing this completely wasteful bill of nearly $2 billion.”
The vote came just a day after Omar and other Democrats were joined by 35 Republicans in supporting legislation that would create a commission to investigate the events of Jan. 6. None of Minnesota’s four Republicans backed that bill either.
Minnesota’s three other House Democrats voted for the Capitol spending bill Thursday that faces long odds in the Senate.
“I voted for our @AppropsDems emergency security supplemental today to provide robust funding to protect those who work at & visit the Capitol, prosecute the insurrectionists, and prevent future attacks,” Minnesota Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum tweeted.
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