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More than $30 million needed for riot aftermath and increased Capitol security, official says in House testimony

Posted February 23, 2021 8:27 p.m. EST

— A House subcommittee is slated to hear testimony Wednesday to assess the damage as a result of the violent January 6 insurrection, and according to at least one official's testimony, the price tag to address the riot damage and increased Capitol Hill security is already $30 million.

Architect of the Capitol J. Brett Blanton is scheduled to testify before the House Appropriations Legislative branch subcommittee on the damage at the US Capitol as the result of the January 6 insurrection by writing, "the initial assessment is that most of the damage -- in areas maintained by the AOC -- on the interior and envelope of the building was broken glass, broken doors and graffiti."

According to his prepared remarks posted Tuesday evening, Blanton will say that the Appropriations Committee has already approved a transfer request of $30 million to address the Architect of the Capitol's expenses incurred to date, and added that the money will also go toward extending the temporary perimeter fencing contract through March 31. Blanton still said more funding is needed.

"While this transfer addresses some of this need, expenses that we know are forthcoming are unfunded. Additional resources will also be needed should the elevated security posture of the campus extend past March 31," he wrote.

"Statues, murals, historic benches and original shutters all suffered varying degrees of damage, primarily from pepper spray accretions and residue from chemical irritants and fire extinguishers," Blanton added. "This damage to our precious artwork and statues will require expert cleaning and conservation."

The House curator, Farar Elliott, will outline all of the physical damage done to the Capitol as the result of the riot and request an additional appropriation be made to address those damages.

"We respectfully request a supplemental appropriation of $25,000 for support of emergency repair and conservation of the House Collection objects," Elliott wrote in her opening testimony.

A Democratic aide told CNN that the money Elliott and Blanton will discuss that is needed for the damage and the increased security at the Capitol will be part of a broader budget request.

"The funding that they are discussing is likely to be included in the supplemental that House Democrats are beginning to formulate at the request of the Speaker," according to a Democratic aide.

In her February 15 letter calling for a 9/11-style commission to be formulated to investigate the violent insurrection into January 6, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also called for "a supplemental appropriation to provide for the safety of Members and the security of the Capitol."

Wednesday's subcommittee hearing is the latest event scheduled for this week to understand the widespread consequences from the insurrection, which left five people dead and led to the second impeachment of Former President Donald Trump.

On Tuesday, law enforcement officials told lawmakers at a separate hearing they were prepared for the possibility of limited violence on January 6 at the US Capitol, but the intelligence available ahead of time did not warn of a coordinated attack like the insurrection that overwhelmed officers and led to multiple casualties.

House Chief Administrative Officer Catherine L. Szpindor is also slated to testify at Wednesday's hearing, where here prepared remarks detail how her cybersecurity secured the House network, equipment and technology infrastructure as the insurrection took place.

"These efforts included issuing commands to lock computers and laptops and shutting down wired network access to prevent unauthorized access to House data," Szpindor wrote in her statement.

All three officials also address in their opening statements the mental health resources needed for members, their staff, and everyone who works at the Capitol who was on the premises on January 6.

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