General who led Capitol security review urges Senate to pass funding bill
▶ Watch Video: Russel Honoré, who led Capitol security review, urges Senate to approve funding bill
Washington — Retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, who conducted a security review in the wake of the January 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol, pushed lawmakers to approve a bill that would provide an additional $1.9 billion to harden the Capitol complex and warned that the longer they wait, the more vulnerable the building is.
“This is serious business. It’s about their security,” Honoré said in an interview with “Face the Nation” on Sunday. “And right now we have the security to secure the Capitol. But that does not include the mission to have it open to the public, which all of them, both sides, houses, both parties want to have the Capitol be open to the public. And this funding is needed. So if they don’t fund it, they don’t have it.”
The House last week narrowly passed legislation providing $1.9 billion to improve security at the Capitol and incorporating recommendations from Honoré’s review. In addition to providing funding for fencing and making improvements to secure windows and doors, the measure also creates a new quick reaction force of the D.C. National Guard to respond to threats to the Capitol.
All Republicans and three Democrats in the House voted against the bill, and it faces a tough road to passage in the evenly divided Senate, where 60 votes are needed to advance legislation.
Honoré, though, warned senators that “the longer they think, the less secure the Capitol will be.”
He noted that nearly $700 million of the $1.9 billion in the security spending bill is for responding to the January 6 insurrection, including covering the costs of National Guard deployed to Washington, D.C., through Sunday and overtime pay for U.S. Capitol Police officers.
“That’s just logistics,” he said, “and that has to be paid.”
Honoré also pushed back on criticisms of the quick reaction force the measure creates, and said relying on regional police to respond to emergencies at the Capitol would be inadequate when it involves threats of domestic terrorism in the early-morning hours.
“This is a tough mission. The Capitol will have to be protected 365,” he said.
Honoré said the Capitol Police were confronted with a “dangerous, violent mob that fought them, tried to kill them” on January 6, not a “normal tourist visit,” as was suggested by Republican Congressman Andrew Clyde of Georgia earlier this month.
“What I’m afraid of,” he said, “is when I hear statements like that is that we have a two-party system that normally would be referred to as the minority party, the opposition. And that scares me. They’ve gone from being a minority party to an opposition party. And to borrow the words from Nancy Reagan, they just say no.”