Chair Ryan Statement at Security of the Capitol Campus since the Attack of January 6, 2021 Hearing
Congressman Tim Ryan (D-OH-13), Chair of the Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee, delivered the following remarks at the Subcommittee's hearing on Security of the Capitol Campus since the Attack of January 6, 2021:
Good morning to our panel. I am pleased to welcome the Chief of the Capitol Police, Thomas Manger, the House Sergeant at Arms, William Walker, and the Architect of the Capitol, Brett Blanton. Thank you for being with us today.
None of us will forget the events of January 6th. The Capitol was attacked by a violent insurrectionist mob, lives were lost in the days and weeks following, 140 police officers were assaulted, $1.5 million worth of damage was done to the Capitol, and the lasting impacts of that day continue to be felt across the Capitol Complex and our community.
How we remember and respond will determine how we collectively learn from the trials and mistakes that day. As we move forward, we do not want to fall into the trap of preparing to fight the last war. Rather, we must thoughtfully plan to ensure the next one never happens. Ignoring the mistakes of the past or refusing to learn and grow from them will only continue to leave the Capitol Campus vulnerable to unknown and unexpected threats.
A lot of important work remains to get to the bottom of what happened that day, and I commend my colleagues on the select committee who are engaged in that important work.
The purpose of this subcommittee and this hearing specifically is not to litigate the facts of that day. Our purpose today is to review where we are one year later and what changes have been made since January 6th 2021, and to look ahead at what is still needed to keep Members, Staff, Visitors, Capitol Police, and all employees on campus safe.
In May 2021, the House passed a comprehensive security supplemental bill with significant investments in the Capitol Police, security improvements, and Member Security. But after inaction in the Senate, a slimmed down, compromise bill was agreed to in July of 2021. Unfortunately, this included only $300 million of earmarked funding for the Architect of the Capitol for windows and doors and new security cameras. And $70.7 million for U.S. Capitol Police salaries, equipment, and other expenses related to the January 6th Insurrection. In all, the shortsighted version that could get support from the Republicans did not include other items such as: backfilling the funding reprogrammed away from other vital activities in the aftermath of the attack; funding for security screening vestibules, landscape architecture, and retractable security barriers to protect the Capitol complex; and resources to improve Member security and security in district offices.
Today I hope you can provide updates to the subcommittee as to how the Capitol Police and House Sergeant-at-Arms are currently protecting the campus and its workforce, and to talk about the next steps to ensure the future physical safety of our campus. What changes have been made to improve the safety of doors and windows? What plans are in place to ensure a mob cannot again overrun access points in the Capitol? What efforts have been taken to recruit and retain additional Capitol Police officers? Simply, how is the Capitol a safer place to work one year later?
This subcommittee is interested in hearing about both how those supplemental funds are being spent and what gaps remain. On top of that, I need you to address the consequences to the safety and security of the Capitol complex if the FY 2022 regular appropriation is not enacted. As you all know, the Continuing Resolution runs out on February 18th and there are those who believe it is better to punt instead of doing then hard work of funding the government. What are the repercussions to the Legislative Branch if the 2022 bills are not enacted and we are stuck with a Continuing Resolution at FY 2021 funding levels?
I look forward to your answers to the questions I have raised, and I want you to know that we are very thankful for your service and that of the staff of your organizations who work so hard to make this House run. At this point I would like to yield to my friend and colleague the Ranking Member, Jaime Herrera Beutler, for any opening comments she would like to make.