“Last evening, the Senate approved by unanimous consent this bipartisan legislation, which provides emergency security resources to the Supreme Court of the United States and to the U.S. Marshals Service. The House of Representatives must approve this bill without amendment or delay and send it to the President’s desk—before adjourning this week. The need and urgency is obvious.”
WASHINGTON—United States Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN), a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, today delivered remarks on the Senate floor, urging the House of Representatives to pass and send to the President’s desk his bipartisan legislation with Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) to address the unprecedented, current security threats to the justices, their families, and court employees. The Hagerty-Warner emergency funding bill, which provides an additional $10.3 million to the U.S. Marshals Service and $9.1 million to the U.S. Supreme Court, passed unanimously yesterday in the Senate.
Remarks as Prepared
Mr. President, I rise today to highlight and speak in support of the Supreme Court Security Funding Act of 2022, which I introduced with Senator Warner last week. Last evening, the Senate approved by unanimous consent this bipartisan legislation, which provides emergency security resources to the Supreme Court of the United States and to the U.S. Marshals Service.
The House of Representatives must approve this bill without amendment or delay and send it to the President’s desk—before adjourning this week. The need and urgency is obvious.
There is no question that the Supreme Court, its justices, their families, and court employees are under unprecedented and unexpected threat. This includes recent highly publicized threats against Justice Kavanaugh and Justice Sotomayor. These threats may very well become more acute in the coming weeks, as the Court concludes its term.
There is no question that protecting the Court from these threats requires additional resources in Fiscal Year 2022 because unexpected resources are being deployed. This legislation provides those necessary resources.
More specifically, the U.S. Marshals Service has been providing around-the-clock security for the nine Justices at their homes and needs $10.3 million in emergency funding to cover these costs for the remainder of this fiscal year. The Supreme Court needs $9.1 million to cover its increased security costs for this fiscal year. These include overtime pay for Supreme Court Police officers, mutual-aid payments to assisting law enforcement agencies, and increased physical security around the Supreme Court Building.
If Congress does not immediately provide this funding, the Court and Marshals Service may be forced to transfer funds from other critical functions and entities, like the U.S. District Courts and U.S. Courts of Appeals. That is an unacceptable outcome given the obvious and urgent need for this security funding and the gravity of the threat against one of our three constitutional branches of government.
Congress recently passed—and the President signed into law—legislation by Senators Cornyn and Coons to increase the scope of authorized Supreme Court Police protection to include the justices’ immediate family members. Congress rightly provided this additional security authorization to protect the Court.
These expanded authorities are important, but there should be no question regarding whether Congress will separately provide the resources necessary to protect the Supreme Court during this hour of need.
I thank my colleague from Virginia, Senator Warner, for working with me on this legislation. I also want to thank the Senior Senator from Alabama, Vice Chairman Shelby and his staff, as well as the Senior Senator from Vermont, Chairman Leahy, for their help and guidance. Finally, I thank my Senate colleagues for their cooperation in ensuring the swift passage of this legislation in the Senate.
Now, I urge the House of Representatives to promptly send this bill to the President’s desk before it adjourns later this week.
Mr. President, I yield the floor.