Chair DeLauro Statement at Subcommittee Markup of Fiscal Year 2022 Legislative Branch Funding Bill

2021-06-24 12:28

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee's markup of its fiscal year 2022 bill:

Thank you very much, Chairman Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera Beutler, for your efforts on the bill. I love the dynamic and the banter back and forth. I think it speaks to the efforts in which you have been joined in producing a wonderful bill here. It is your dedication, your commitment, that put this effort together and a good working relationship which makes it all the more special. I want to also say thank you to my colleague, the Ranking Member Granger.

We had a kickoff of the Appropriations season this morning. This is the second in line and we're marching through day by day. My colleague Ranking Member Granger is a pleasure to work with and getting to know one another and establishing a sound, solid relationship as we go forward . And to my colleagues on both sides of the aisle for your commitment to this Subcommittee and your efforts and input in making this bill that responds to the various needs of, in this instance, our government, and its structure, and the things that make it work.  

The events of January 6 I think shook all of us to our very cores and made it obvious that we must do more to protect our democracy. The very seat of our government was attacked. Our brave Capitol Police officers were attacked. More than 140 officers were injured, many of them for life. Severe brain injuries, smashed spinal discs, one officer was stabbed with a fence stake, another lost an eye. 

But their tremendous sacrifices were not enough. The world watched in horror as a violent, angry mob stormed our Capitol, breaking windows, ransacking offices, and attempting to download sensitive information. They came within feet of harming not only Members, but staff and visitors to this sacred place. 

A cascade of failures in security and leadership that day underscored the vulnerability not only of our government but of our democracy as an institution and as an ideal. Our democracy was tested – and it very nearly failed that test. But it didn't fail. That’s why over the past several months the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch held numerous hearings on the security failures of that day.

As a result, it has crafted the bill before us which builds upon the emergency security supplemental the House passed last month to bolster the security of the Capitol and increase support and training for Capitol Police. But let me be clear: this bill is not a substitute for the desperately needed supplemental, and I renew my call for the Senate to act on the bill we sent over.

This legislation provides an increase of $88.4 million, for a total of $603.9 million for the Capitol Police. It will allow the hiring of up to 2,112 sworn officers and 450 civilian members of the Capitol Police. Following the tragic death by suicide of Officer Howie Liebengood, it bolsters support for officer wellness programs.

And, in recognition of the changes the Capitol Police need, the Committee report includes several significant measures to help bring more transparency, diversity, and leadership training, and standardize vetting and routinely review staff for employment suitability with the Capitol Police.

In addition to the funding provided to secure our democracy, this bill provides funding to improve Legislative Branch capacity so that Congress can work for people. It provides more than 21 percent increase for the Member’s Representational Allowance (MRAs), standing and select committees, and leadership, which would allow us to build a workforce that can effectively support our important work. To grow opportunity and create a diverse hiring pipeline, it expands paid internship opportunities. And it provides authorization for Dreamers to work in Congressional offices.

Together, the initiatives in this bill would strengthen this institution and, in turn, our entire nation and secure our democracy from attack. I look forward to continuing our work together as we move to full committee consideration and I urge your support for this important legislation.

117th Congress