The last passage came days after police officers defending the Capitol that day told a committee of inquiry in excruciating detail of the horrors they suffered when a pro-Trump mob stormed the building. The Capitol Police Department has been in crisis since the attack, with funding, staffing and operational issues plaguing a deeply demoralized agency.
Senator Patrick J. Leahy, Democrat of Vermont and chairman of the grants committee, had warned for weeks that the agency would run out of money and that necessary training would be canceled unless Congress quickly approves more funds.
“If we don’t act, the Capitol Police will use up their salaries in a few weeks and the National Guard will be forced to cancel the training required to carry out their missions at home and abroad,” he said Thursday. “Not doing anything would be a security crisis that we created ourselves.”
The bill was passed after several Republicans who had prevented it dropped their objections and the Senate approved a proposal by Senator Tom Cotton, Republican of Arkansas, to require the administration to report to Congress on the Afghan special visa program for immigrants .
The bill includes a measure passed by the House of Representatives last week that adds 8,000 new visas for Afghans threatened with death by the Taliban for helping American personnel in Afghanistan withdraw US forces after a 20-year war. The House of Representatives approved the measure with an overwhelming majority, which also speeds up the application process and enables more Afghans to qualify. It also includes hundreds of millions of dollars in government programs to help refugees and migrants and relocate them in the United States.
More than 18,000 Afghans who worked as interpreters, drivers, engineers, security, repairs, and embassy workers for the United States during the war are in the bureaucratic after applying for special immigrant visas available to people at risk Suspense caught up in work for the US government.
“We intend to keep our nation’s promises to brave Afghans who have taken great risks to help America and our partners fight terrorists,” Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, said in a speech this week.