The U.S. Capitol Police plan to request a 14% budget increase in 2024, which would bring their agency’s budget to over $840 million, according to reports. The request will be made this week in a hearing of a House subcommittee responsible for overseeing funding for the police department. A Democratic congressman who has reviewed and shared details of the request disclosed this information.
Concerns are growing over violent threats against members of Congress, and this request comes during the third year of efforts to prevent a recurrence of the January 6, 2021 attack. If approved, the budget would give Congress’ internal police department an annual budget larger than the police departments of several major American cities, including Philadelphia, Denver, Cleveland, and Tampa.
The department’s approximately $840 million request would dwarf some prior years’ requests, and it would more than double the budget request of $356 million made by the department in 2015.
Rep. Adriano Espaillat, of New York, the top Democrat on the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, reported that the proposed budget, which will be submitted Wednesday by Capitol Police chief Thomas Manger, will request funding to pursue the hiring of approximately 800 more officers.
According to Capitol Police records, the agency has handled almost 26,000 threat investigations over the past three years. In 2022, the agency investigated 7,501 cases involving threats against members of Congress, which is down from a high of 9,625 in 2021 but still almost double the 3,939 cases investigated in 2017.
Congressman Espaillat stated that the potential nomination of former President Trump for the White House in 2024 could increase the rancor and vitriol of American politics, highlighting the need for a stronger and better-resourced police department. “He will inject some toxic feelings into the race in 2024 that will warrant greater security,” Espaillat said.
Congressman Mark Amodei, the chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, said that the panel is not providing a blank check to the Capitol Police department. There will be time for “back and forth” and a review of the department’s request. Amodei, a Republican, said, “The police chief will not detail the budget request on Wednesday in any way that will bake the cake.”
Amodei stressed that the Capitol Police have a unique mission and need for resources. “Their mission is not just the folks you see in uniform at the doors at the (Capitol) entrances,” he said. Both Amodei and Espaillat emphasized the importance of the department’s dignitary protection unit, which helps protect members of Congress nationwide.