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Will Capitol attack hike security costs for Biden inauguration?

There’s just over a week to go until President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will be inaugurated. 

Presidential inaugurations are always designated National Special Security Events. And even in calmer years, the federal government has spent upward of $100 million on security — that’s taxpayer money.

Will last week’s storming of the Capitol push that price tag even higher?

Robert Jervis, a professor at Columbia University who specializes in security policy, said, “We’re going to spend a ton more money on securing the inaugural. They’re gonna throw everything they have at it.”

The Secret Service, which takes the lead on inauguration security, should have some extra money to put toward protecting the event because of the pandemic, said John Sandweg, a former top official in the Department of Homeland Security.

“We didn’t really have conventions. The travel movements of the presidential candidates was more limited. So all of that should have created surpluses in the Secret Service budget,” Sandweg said.

On top of that, Sandweg added, this was already going to be a much smaller inauguration because of COVID-19 and its restrictions.

You’re not going to see much of the pageantry,” he said. “The traditional parade down Pennsylvania Avenue, the pre-inauguration events and the different inaugural balls.”

So even with beefed-up security, Sandweg expects the 2021 inauguration may not actually cost taxpayers that much more than in other years.

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