Claudia Grisales

The House of Representatives has narrowly passed a $1.9 billion security funding bill to reimburse federal agencies for costs related to the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, prosecution of criminal cases and new efforts to protect Congress better.

A large share of the measure, more than $730 million, would reimburse costs related to the siege for the National Guard and other agencies. The remainder is dedicated to new security measures for the Capitol complex, the ramping up of protection for members as well as other miscellaneous items.

In an effort to reduce crime among formerly incarcerated individuals, a bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers are joining forces to introduce legislation Thursday to create new resource centers to help ex-prisoners get a new start.

Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and John Cornyn, R-Texas; and House Reps. Karen Bass, D-Calif., and Guy Reschenthaler, R-Pa., are launching the proposal to offer new access to housing, medical care, job searches and legal services.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Updated May 19, 2021 at 6:53 PM ET

The House has passed a bipartisan plan to create a 9/11-style commission to investigate the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, despite significant opposition from Republican lawmakers.

The vote was 252-175, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Updated May 14, 2021 at 12:44 PM ET

House lawmakers have reached a deal on a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump and to recommend changes to protect the complex further.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Rep. John Katko, R-N.Y., the panel's ranking member, will introduce legislation Friday to set up the commission.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas told senators on Thursday that in the midst of a surge of migrants trying to enter the U.S., the number of unaccompanied minors in U.S. Customs and Border Protection custody continues to fall dramatically.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

On Capitol Hill today, former Trump officials testified for the first time since the January 6 attack. Taking center stage at the House Oversight Committee hearing - bitter exchanges like this one.

Former Trump administration officials testified for the first time on the Jan. 6 insurrection before a congressional committee on Wednesday, putting on center stage the bitter partisan divide over the role former President Donald Trump and his supporters played that day.

As Republicans looked to focus on what they said were partisan Democratic games to control the narrative of the riot, Democrats on the House Oversight Committee took former acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen to task.

A U.S. Capitol Police watchdog told a congressional committee on Monday that the agency was not equipped to handle the flow of intelligence ahead of the Jan. 6 attack on the complex, and he focused his testimony on a suggestion that the force create a dedicated counterintelligence unit.

In a breakthrough for an 8-year-long effort, two senators behind legislation to revamp the way the military handles sexual assault cases and other serious crimes say the bill has the bipartisan votes to gain passage.

Traditionally, a presidential joint address to Congress is marked by a packed House chamber with a guest list that can total 1,600 people, including members, high-ranking officials and their guests.

That won't be the case Wednesday night.

"This administration is very conscious of COVID and wants to set an example for the country," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, an independent who caucuses with Democrats. "So we're going to be indoors and I'm sure there will be strong social distancing."

In his final months, John McCain fell catastrophically ill when his intestines ruptured, and he was taken on a secret journey to an Arizona hospital by helicopter. With her husband unconscious, Cindy McCain had to decide if he should have emergency surgery that would result in a bag for his intestines — or worse, kill him.

Dr. Jim Gordon of the Center for Mind-Body Medicine in Washington, D.C., says one of the first steps to addressing trauma is breathing.

"Slow, deep breathing, in through the nose," Gordon says, modeling the practice, "and out through the mouth with our bellies, soft and relaxed."

The psychiatrist is sharing this concentrated meditation technique with U.S. Capitol Police as part of a new program to address the upheaval they have seen in recent months.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Capping nearly two weeks of talks between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate approved legislation on Thursday to ramp up law enforcement efforts to better protect the Asian American and Pacific Islander community from hate crimes.

The move marks a rare moment of bipartisan unity needed to approve the Senate legislation despite a new political era marked by increasingly bitter party divisions.

Updated April 15, 2021 at 4:16 PM ET

Updated at 3:55 p.m.

Members of Congress heard for the first time on Thursday public testimony from the U.S. Capitol Police inspector general on the most extensive findings yet in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says during his 30 years in Congress, and years earlier as a U.S. Capitol Police officer, a fencing system for the Capitol was not top of mind.

"That was never, ever considered when I was the leader, or when I served on the Capitol Police force — never considered," said Reid, who served in various congressional roles from 1983 to 2015 and as a Capitol Police officer in the 1960s while attending law school.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

YOGANANDA PITTMAN: It is with a very, very heavy heart that I announce one of our officers has succumbed to his injuries.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Michigan congresswoman Elissa Slotkin says the end date for America's singular focus on threats from foreign terrorists has come and gone.

"January 6, for me, kind of capped the end of the post-9/11 era," says the former CIA analyst who served in Iraq and personally briefed both George W. Bush on Barack Obama on foreign terror threats.

The House has overwhelmingly passed a pair of immigration bills that offer a targeted approach to amending the immigration system but have an uncertain future when it comes to passage in the Senate.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET

The Jan. 6 insurrection exposed major Capitol security failures, and a review by a task force led by retired Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré is urging Congress to revamp its security apparatus by adding hundreds of new police officers, creating a quick reaction force and installing a new fencing system.

Honoré and other members of the task force hosted three bipartisan briefing sessions for lawmakers on Monday at the Capitol to discuss their findings and draft recommendations.

As a House panel is set to meet on new spending to ramp up Capitol security, military and federal officials will testify in a Senate hearing that is part of several congressional probes into what fueled the deadly Jan. 6 riot.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Christopher Wray, the director of the FBI, is testifying before Congress about the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. He's taking questions from a committee chaired by Democrat Dick Durbin.

(SOUNDBITE OF HEARING)

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

We are learning new details about the January 6 insurrection, as Congress holds hearings about the attack. The acting Capitol Police chief told lawmakers today the head of her agency asked top officials for military backup half a dozen times in the first hour of the breach. Chief Yogananda Pittman said the requests were made as police were unprepared to face the rioters.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

Acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman, testifying remotely through a video link, told a House committee that her agency head had requested military backup about a half-dozen times in the first hour after the Capitol complex was breached on Jan. 6, the day of the insurrection.

Pittman based her assessment on phone records her agency obtained for then-Chief Steven Sund showing he reached out to the Capitol's top security officials starting shortly before 1 p.m. in the first of six calls requesting the National Guard to respond.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Pages