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House Votes to Give Wounded Capitol Police Officers Access to Memorial Fund

Capitol Police officer Crystal Griner throws out the first pitch in the Congressional Women's Softball game at Watkins Recreation Center on Capitol Hill on June 21, 2017. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call via AP Images)

WASHINGTON — The manager of the GOP baseball team who was at the field in Alexandria, Va., last month when a gunman opened fire and the manager of the Democratic team secured access to the U.S. Capitol Police Memorial Fund for officers who were wounded in the line of duty.

Special Agent Crystal Griner was shot in the ankle and Special Agency David Bailey also suffered an injury as they stopped the shooter who gravely wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) and others in the June 14 attack.

Reps. Joe Barton (R-Texas) and Mike Doyle (D-Pa.) introduced the bill Wednesday, and it was on the House calendar for a vote by today. Currently, only families of officers killed in the line of duty can access donations in the memorial fund.

The Senate is expected to take action as soon as tomorrow and likely have the legislation on President Trump’s desk by the end of this week.

“Sometimes, even simple and caring gestures require an act of Congress. Following the tragic shooting on June 14, the Congressional Baseball game achieved record setting crowds and donations for local charities. This year we will be donating a portion of the funds raised to help those injured at the baseball practice,” Barton said in a statement last week.

The congressman, whose sons were at the practice yet were unharmed, emphasized that Bailey and Griner “saved my life along with those of my sons and of everyone out at that field.”

“Officers Bailey and Griner have received a great deal of care and will require more – the members of the baseball teams wish to make sure they have the necessary resources for recovery,” he added.

Doyle, whose team was practicing in a different location at the time of the early-morning shooting, stressed that “every member of the House and Senate understand the risks that are willingly taken by these officers every day to keep us, our staffs, and the Capitol’s many visitors safe.”

“The Capitol Police Memorial Fund was originally established with a specific limited purpose – namely, to make it easier for individuals to provide financial support for the families of two Capitol Police officers killed in the line of duty in 1998,” Doyle said. “In light of the attack on the Congressional Republicans’ baseball practice last month, in which two Capitol Police officers were wounded while bravely working to stop the gunman, we believe that the law should be amended to allow the fund to provide similar support to U.S. Capitol Police officers seriously injured in the line of duty.”

Capitol Police were on the scene only because a congressional leader, Scalise, was playing. “Had Steve’s personal detail not been there… this could have been much, much worse,” Doyle said at a press conference following the shooting with Barton.

Scalise is still recovering at MedStar Washington Hospital Center, but called in to today’s whip meeting on the Hill and reportedly reminded his fellow lawmakers that Griner and Bailey saved their lives. Last week, after Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) cancer diagnosis was revealed, Scalise tweeted, “Praying for my friend @SenJohnMcCain, one of the toughest people I know.”

Bailey recently stopped by a Capitol Hill meeting of the Republican Study Committee, the conservative caucus led by Scalise before he was elevated to whip.