U.S. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) and Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) are calling on Congress to fully fund the District of Columbia emergency planning and security fund (EPSF).
The EPSF pays for the unique public safety and security costs the District incurs as the nation’s capital. It is designed to cover the District’s costs upfront, so D.C. does not need to expend local funds and then seek reimbursement after the fact.
The lawmakers are requesting full funding for future years, along with the $80 million cut from the EPSF in fiscal year 2021. The Congress members cited the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol as to why these funds are important. The U.S. Capitol Police requested D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) assistance, and MPD responded quickly, likely saving lives and helping to end the insurrection.
“Our Metropolitan Police Department has always protected the federal presence in the nation’s capital, but it is no exaggeration to say that MPD helped save the legislative branch of the federal government during the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol last week,” Norton said. “Over the last several years, Republicans have opposed fully funding the EPSF. Whatever their motivations may have been, Congress must never shortchange security in the nation’s capital again.”
Norton and Van Hollen had sought $118.3 million for the ESPF in the final FY 2021 Appropriations bill, but only $38.4 million was provided for the EPSF.
“Over his Presidency, Trump has decimated the D.C. Emergency Planning and Security Fund for his political stunts while both he and Congressional Republicans have refused to replenish it. As the District and the U.S. Capitol continue to face unprecedented attacks, including those incited by the President, it’s clear that these funds must immediately be restored to provide for the safety and security of our nation’s capital and its residents,” Van Hollen said.