By Kristin Wilson and Ali Zaslav, CNN
The Senate has unanimously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal to the officers of the US Capitol Police and the Washington, DC, Metropolitan Police Department, nearly seven months after the insurrection at the Capitol.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, while introducing the measure, which passed the House in June, said that “January 6th unleashed many horrors, but it also revealed many heroes.” The bill now goes to President Joe Biden’s desk for his signature.
Schumer also criticized the 21 House Republicans who voted against the awarding of the medal, saying that some of them “were some of the same folks who likened the January 6th attack to, quote, a normal tourist visit, who deny the events that day were an insurrection. The same folks who screamed the loudest about the dangers of defunding the police, refuse to defend the police. The very police who shielded them from a vicious mob.”
“For the life of me, I don’t know how they sleep at night,” Schumer said. But he suggested that the bill would not face any opposition in the upper chamber. “The Senate is different. I expect it will pass unanimously,” which it did.
Earlier this year, the Senate unanimously voted to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Officer Eugene Goodman, who singlehandedly led a mob of insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber minutes before the chamber doors were sealed with senators still inside. But the House version of the legislation opted to award the medal to the whole of the police force rather than singling out one individual for the medal.
The revised bills will now award three medals — one to the entire US Capitol Police force, and one to the Metropolitan Police Department, “so that the sacrifices of fallen officers and their families, and the contributions of other law enforcement agencies who answered the call of duty on January 6, 2021, can be recognized and honored in a timely manner.” A third will be put on display at the Smithsonian Institution, with a plaque that lists all the law enforcement agencies that protected and defended the Capitol.
The legislation does name several individual officers, including Goodman, for their valor, saying “Capitol Police Officers Brian Sicknick and Howard Liebengood, Metropolitan Police Department Officer Jeffrey Smith, and those who sustained injuries, and the courage of Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, exemplify the patriotism and the commitment of Capitol Police officers, and those of other law enforcement agencies, to risk their lives in service of our country.”
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