On Tuesday, the Senate unanimously approved a bill that will award Congressional gold medals to Washington, D.C., Metro and Capitol law enforcement officers who were working when demonstrators stormed the Capitol on January 6.
The House previously passed the bill in June despite pushback from over 20 Republican lawmakers who argued language in the bill labeling the demonstration as an “insurrection” was disingenuous. The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk.
“Every day, the United States Capitol Police (“Capitol Police”) protects the U.S. Capitol, Members of Congress, congressional staff and institutional staff, journalists, and the visiting public,” the bill states. “On January 6, 2021, a mob of insurrectionists forced its way into the U.S. Capitol building and congressional office buildings and engaged in acts of vandalism, looting, and violently attacked Capitol Police officers.”
The bill also highlights “the sacrifice of heroes” including Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick, who died of natural causes following the storming, according to NBC News.
The legislation further asserts that “up to seven Americans died following this violent attack, and more than 140 law enforcement officers suffered physical injuries, including 15 officers who were hospitalized.”
“The desecration of the U.S. Capitol, which is the temple of our American Democracy, and the violence targeting Congress are horrors that will forever stain our Nation’s history,” the bill continues.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) praised her fellow lawmakers “for supporting this legislation and honoring the heroism and patriotism of the courageous law enforcement officers who risked, and in some cases sacrificed their lives to defend our democracy.”
According to Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), the award unanimously passing in the Senate “will send a clear message to law enforcement officers we’re united in our appreciation of all they do to keep us safe.”
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) slammed the GOP lawmakers in the House who voted against the measure, asserting “the gold medal is about setting the record straight and recognizing the true heroism on display that fateful day.”
“Jan. 6 released many horrors, but it also produced many heroes,” Schumer said from the Senate floor. “A day that many of us remember for its violence, anger and destruction was not without its share of bravery, sacrifice and selflessness.”
Last month, the National Police Association (NPA) slammed Congress for investigating the January 6 Capitol Hill storming while “ignoring” the destructive riots that raged across the United States last year.
“There were at least 574 violent riots in 2020, and yet today’s Congressional hearings are focusing on only one riot, January 6th, 2021, and hearing testimony from only a few of the police officers involved,” association spokeswoman Betsy Brantner Smith told The Washington Times.
“Brave police officers attempted to defend stores, apartment buildings, churches, hotels, several of their own precincts and courthouses and even a Ronald McDonald House from looting, arson and vandalism,” she continued, noting several cases in which officers suffered “horrific” injuries, including one who was paralyzed.
The Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA), a professional organization of police leaders in the largest cities throughout the United States and Canada, released a report last October detailing the civil unrest that spread through MCCA members cities from May 25 to July 31, leading to 2,037 injured officers.