Senate unanimously votes to award Capitol, Metro police congressional gold medals

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WASHINGTON – The Senate unanimously voted Tuesday to award members of the United States Capitol Police and D.C. Metropolitan Police the Congressional Gold Medal for their efforts to defend the United States Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Roy Blunt, R-Mo., collectively asked the Senate to unanimously consent to a previously House-passed bill that awarded the two police forces with a medal for their efforts on Jan. 6, when a violent mob of pro-Trump supports stormed the Capitol building and tried to stop the certification of Joe Biden's election win.

“We must pass this legislation honoring the Capitol Police and other heroes who protected the Capitol on Jan 6 by awarding them this congressional gold medal,” Klobuchar said on the Senate floor Tuesday. “It’s important that we recognize the bravery and patriotism of those who defended our democracy and our lives with Congress’ highest honor.”

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The bill calls for the Treasury Department to make three gold medals – one for the Capitol police headquarters, one for the Metropolitan Police Department and one for the Smithsonian Institution. The House voted to award the law enforcement agencies a medal with a vote of 413-12 back in March.

The awarded medal comes just a day after the MPD shared that two of their officers who responded to the Capitol attack have died by suicide in July – Officers Gunther Hashida and Kyle DeFreytag – bringing the total number of officers who have taken their lives after the attack to four.

Metro Police Officer Jeffrey Smith and Capitol Police Officer Howie Liebengood died by suicide just days after the Jan. 6 attack.

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“As we all know, Jan. 6 unleashed many horrors, but it also revealed many heroes. A day that many of us remember for its violence, anger and destruction was not without its share of bravery, sacrifice and selflessness. I am of course talking about the Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police,” Schumer said Tuesday before the vote.

Schumer also praised Klobuchar and Blunt for working together on this legislation and applauded the bipartisanship they displayed before railing against the House GOP lawmakers for voting against the House’s bill to award the medals.

“I am still stunned by what happened in the House, where 21 members of the House Republican Caucus voted against this legislation,” Schumer said. “The Senate is different. I expect this to pass unanimously. That’s why we’re here doing it today.”

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The Senate’s unanimous consent also comes just days after four officers – Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell and Officer Harry Dunn and Metro Police Officers Michael Fanone and Daniel Hodges – shared harrowing details about the violence and fear they experience during the Jan. 6 insurrection.

“I hope by passing this congressional gold medal bill by unanimous consent, we send a clear message to law enforcement officers that we are united in our appreciation of all they do to keep us safe,” Blunt said about the legislation. “I urge my colleagues to join not only in supporting the unanimous passage of this bill, but also to be quick in talking about our deep appreciation for those who serve in such a special way as we try to do out work here every day.”

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Senate votes to award police gold medal for Jan. 6 attack response

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