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Funding mostly absent from Supreme Court security discussion

Aidan Quigley, CQ-Roll Call on

Published in Political News

But Hagerty’s bill faces a murky path forward. Top appropriators said last week they are not familiar with Hagerty’s effort, and Thune, R-S.D., said there were no immediate plans to vote on it.

Hagerty said court officials told his office they needed some temporary funding to provide the security laid out in Senate-passed legislation from John Cornyn, R-Texas, and Chris Coons, D-Del., that would extend Supreme Court Marshal protections to the families of justices and court officers.

He’s not sure when he’ll get a vote, but Hagerty’s perch on the Senate Appropriations Committee will present additional opportunities this year.

“We’re still working through how we will manage the appropriations process,” Hagerty said. “I still think it’s pressing, and I just pray nothing happens as we work through the funding mechanism.”

Cornyn said he’s open to additional funding for Supreme Court security, but the initial ask from the court was just for the authorities laid out in his and Coons’ bill.

“That wasn’t their immediate request, but if they need it, I’m open to it,” he said.

 

Meanwhile, Cornyn’s bill has run into a roadblock as the House is trying to add protections for Supreme Court staff. House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer, D-Md., last week said he thinks a House bill, led by Rep. Greg Stanton, D-Ariz., which adds protection for staff, “makes sense.”

Cornyn said “nobody knows who the staff are” and that he wants the House to pass the Senate’s version due to the immediate need.

“We don’t have time to mess around with this,” he said. “We can follow up this narrow bill with something broader, and I would likely support it. But dragging your feet on this while the justices and their families are exposed is irresponsible.”

Cornyn last week said Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer was planning to reach out to House leadership to express support for the legislation. The House adjourned Thursday without moving on Cornyn’s legislation, with the next day of votes scheduled for June 7.

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