Scott Perry votes against awarding medal to police who defended Capitol on Jan. 6

Logan Hullinger
York Dispatch
Incumbent congressman Scott Perry talks to the media while before voting at the polls at Monaghan Presbyterian Church in Dillsburg Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Perry is defending his seat against Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. Bill Kalina photo

U.S. Rep. Scott Perry on Tuesday joined 20 GOP colleagues to oppose awarding the Congressional Gold Medal to all police officers who defended the Capitol during the violent Jan. 6 riots.

The Carroll Township Republican's vote, which immediately sparked backlash from political opponents and constituents alike on social media, broke with the vast majority of his party. That includes U.S. Rep. Lloyd Smucker, R-Lancaster, who also represents part of York County.

The final vote to award Congress' highest civilian medal was 406-21.

Perry did not respond to requests for comment. But he told Politico reporter Melanie Zanona that the vote was "all politics, it's all garbage," she tweeted Tuesday.

Perry is, however, a cosponsor of a bill that would award the Congressional Gold Medal to the police officers without mentioning the Jan. 6 attacks. The bill was introduced Tuesday by U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas.

Rioters in January stormed the Capitol as Congress was to certify Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.

Members of Congress were evacuated mid-session, and the incident resulted in the death of U.S. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick. 

Washington, D.C., Police Officer Jeffrey Smith and U.S. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood died by suicide in the following days.

"But of course Scott Perry is among those who spread the lie about Jan. 6, 2021 and smear the men and women who defended us," one Twitter user wrote about Perry's vote on Tuesday.

Perry had been a leading voice in nullifying the results in Pennsylvania, a state President Joe Biden won by 1.2 percentage points.

The Republican has since said that he would still vote to decertify the 2020 election results even though the rhetoric is widely seen as what emboldened the pro-Trump rioters to storm the Capitol. 

"Among the no votes? #PA10 Rep. Scott Perry, who does a whole lot of talking about his 'support' for the police. So much for 'backing the blue,' Scott," one Twitter user wrote.

It took Congress five months to come to an agreement on how to award the Congressional Gold Medal in honor of police.

In March, 12 Republicans — not including Perry — voted against an early version of the legislation, which they say was because they opposed the use of the term "insurrectionists," The Washington Post reported.

The Senate and House then deliberated for months about whether to honor all police who responded to the Capitol riots or to only give the award to Capitol Police Officer Eugene Goodman, who led insurrectionists away from the Senate chamber during the attack.

The legislation passed Tuesday, a compromise between both chambers, will award four medals.

The U.S. Capitol Police and Washington, D.C., police will each receive a medal. Another will be displayed at the Smithsonian Institution, and a final medal will be displayed in the Capitol building with a plaque featuring all law enforcement agencies that responded on Jan. 6.

— Logan Hullinger can be reached at lhullinger@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @LoganHullYD.