Chair DeLauro Statement at the Fiscal Year 2023 Budget Request for the United States Capitol Police Hearing
Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro (D-CT-03), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, delivered the following remarks at the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee hearing on the fiscal year 2023 budget request for the United States Capitol Police:
Thank you, very much Chairman Tim Ryan and Ranking Member Herrera Beutler. This is an incredibly important hearing and I want to say a thank you to Chief Manger for testifying here this morning.
It has been just a little over a year since a mob of violent insurrectionists stormed the Capitol. Their intent was on stopping the peaceful transfer of power. A horrifying day for many of us, but even more so horrifying for the women and men of the U.S. Capitol Police. Many of them risked their lives defending us and our democracy – and four officers ultimately lost their lives. Others suffered serious injuries while still more are continuing to suffer from the psychological traumas that they endured.
As these officers recover from that day and return to post COVID operations, which include opening the campus to visitors, it is critical that we ensure the force is sufficiently equipped to meet existing security needs and that we fully support the Capitol Police.
The Capitol Police are dealing with more threats as has just been mentioned by our Ranking Member, almost 10 thousand threats against Members. These threats are becoming more sophisticated and are involving individual actors, as well as domestic terrorist groups. The Capitol Police continue to be called upon to protect the Congress, not only here in DC, but also in our districts. This means the Capitol Police of yesterday is no longer sufficient to meet the challenges of today or tomorrow and it is our responsibility to help equip them to meet those increased challenges.
That is why I am proud that we were able to include an increase of $87 million for the Capitol Police in the fiscal year 2022 government funding package. That funding will support more than 2,000 officers over 450 civilian members of the Capitol Police force. This funding also included several significant measures to help bring more transparency, diversity, leadership training, and to standardize vetting of individuals who seek employment with the Capitol Police.
It has been said, but it is worth saying over and over again. You protect us every single day. You put your lives on the line every single day. That has implications for the police force but there’s implications for your families as well and their concern about what happens to the men and women that they love and are they being safe. We recognize and we need to recognize for those who don’t, what a tough job this is, and what we need to do is to respect the work of the Capitol Police and that we must provide the resources that are necessary for you to do your job. To protect us we need to protect you. And I would probably go so far as saying is that these days there is a low moral problem with law enforcement agencies. Capitol Police, police departments around the country – we need to let you know and our law enforcement agencies around the nation know that we are here to fund the police and to make sure that you have what you need to get the job done. And so, we know that there are new challenges and therefore we need to do more.
As I said we need to honor the sacrifices, but we need more funding for staffing, providing for hazard and retention bonuses, increased overtime pay, student loan repayment, and most importantly a better work-life balance. It means providing for the mental health that the Chair spoke about, so that the officers of the Capitol Police remain resilient and committed to the indispensable role they play – while also ensuring they feel respected and valued in the critical work that they do to secure the United States Congress.
With that let me yield back and I thank you so much, Chief, for being here and I look forward to your testimony.