The bill passed by a 413-12 vote. Republican lawmakers who voted against the measure included Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia.
Gaetz and other lawmakers who cast nay votes cited language included in the bill, which described the rioters as a “mob of insurrectionists.” Rep. Louie Gohmert sponsored a competing bill that did not contain direct references to the Jan. 6 riot.
“Dems combined recognition of USCP with editorial comments about January 6th,” Gaetz wrote on Twitter. “The brave men and women of the USCP deserve better, which is why I cosponsored a clean recognition of their heroism with @replouiegohmert.”
The approved bill, introduced by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., would award Congressional Gold Medals to the Capitol Police and the Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department. A third medal would be sent to the Smithsonian Institute, where it would be displayed alongside a plaque listing every law enforcement agency that responded to the attack.
The House fast-tracked the vote, bypassing a longer process usually required for the awarding of a Congressional Gold Medal.
“Jan. 6 was a day of horror and heartbreak, but because of these courageous men and women, it was also a moment of extraordinary heroism,” Pelosi said in a floor speech earlier this week. “That day, the United States Capitol Police Force put themselves between us and the violence. They risked their safety and their lives for others with the utmost selflessness.”
Gaetz questioned the decision to link the bill to a display at the Smithsonian Institute, telling reporters that the move was “a little much for me.”
Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, who also voted against the bill, criticized the measure’s description of the riot as an insurrection, noting that it “could have implications for somebody’s prosecution later.”
The award is Congress’s highest civilian honor. In February, Senate lawmakers voted unanimously to award a Congressional Gold Medal to Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who personally led several lawmakers to safety during the riot.