House votes to award Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department

District 27 Congressman Michael Cloud explains his vote
Originally Published: 17 MAR 21 19:27 ET

(CNN) — The House of Representatives passed legislation in rare bipartisan fashion Wednesday to award the Congressional Gold Medal to officers of the US Capitol Police and the Metropolitan Police Department for their work protecting the Capitol on January 6.

The legislation provides for a third gold medal to be given to the Smithsonian to be displayed and for research purposes.

The final vote was 413-12 to award the law enforcement agencies for what House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has previously called “a moment of extraordinary heroism.”

Twelve Republicans voted against the bipartisan legislation: Louie Gohmert of Texas, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Andy Biggs of Arizona, who chairs the Freedom Caucus, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Andy Harris of Maryland, Lance Gooden of Texas, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Michael Cloud of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Bob Good of Virginia, Greg Steube of Florida and John Rose of Tennessee.

Republican opposition to the bill came as Gohmert told CNN earlier on Wednesday that he had filed alternative legislation to the measure that passed on the House floor because he opposed language in the bill that referred to the January 6 riot as an insurrection. Politico was first to report Gohmert’s alternative legislation.

The path forward for Gohmert’s version of the Congressional Gold Medal bill was not going to gain momentum, given Democrats’ control of Congress, but it speaks to how calling the breach of the Capitol an insurrection is still viewed as political to certain members of Congress.

Gaetz told reporters that he had voted against the legislation because “it’s just offensive that we literally log-rolled recognition of the Capitol Police; we didn’t give it its own dignity, we had to combine it with editorial comments about the January 6 sequence of events, and then we had to log-roll it with this exhibit at the Smithsonian, and I thought that was a little much for me.”

“I have a problem with the term ‘insurrection,’ ” Massie told reporters. “It could have implications for somebody’s prosecution later. That if we give weight to the word ‘insurrection,’ that then that comes up in somebody’s prosecution.”

Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney of Wyoming admonished her colleagues for supporting alternative legislation to the bipartisan bill that passed on the floor, framing Gohmert’s proposed measure as “outrageous.”

“What happened on January 6 was an attack on the Capitol. The officers who defended us, both Capitol Police, the Metropolitan police, all the law enforcement officers who defended us put their lives on the line — some lost their lives — and there should be no question that we’re awarding people a gold medal for their actions on that day,” Cheney told CNN.

Speaking about the significance of the medals, Pelosi said on the floor Tuesday, “January 6 was a day of horror and heartbreak,” adding, “It was also a moment of extraordinary heroism. That day the United States Capitol Police force put themselves between us and the violence.”

Pelosi specifically named Officer Brian Sicknick, who died of injuries he sustained during the riot at the Capitol, as well as Officer Eugene Goodman, who intentionally misdirected rioters from the Senate chamber just moments before its doors were locked with members inside.

The vote had been previously twice stalled by members of the House Freedom Caucus who have used various procedural moves to delay it, in part because of their opposition to the bill’s language and more broadly as the latest example of members of the Republican Party trying to delay floor procedure.

The House bill awarding Congressional Gold Medals is different from the measure the Senate passed last month. The Senate version awards the gold medal to Goodman specifically instead of the entire US Capitol Police force and Metropolitan Police Department. The bills will now have to be reconciled, per a House Democratic leadership aide.

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District 27 Congressman Michael Cloud’s office reached out to Newscenter25 with the following statement explaining why he voted against it. It was because of the use of the word “temple.”

“I have always stood by and supported our brave law enforcement and still do but this bill was not truly about that despite its name. Instead of simply being about honoring the Capitol Polie who bravely protected the Capitol on January 6th, Speaker Pelosi included damaging language that unnecessarily weighs down the bill. The text refers to the Capitol as the temple of democracy – simply put, it’s not a temple and Congress should not refer to it as one. The federal government is not a god. I ultimately cosponsored Rep. Gohmert’s bill because it solves the issue I have with the language of the bill.” – Rep. Cloud

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