WASHINGTON- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Congress should allocate additional funds for the U.S. Capitol Police.
“I do think-and I would support-and I have suggested; they need a bigger budget,” Pelosi said in response to a question at a news conference on Thursday.
House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) Wednesday morning was shot in the hip at a Republican baseball practice in Alexandria, Virginia. Scalise is in critical condition following extensive medical treatment, according to a statement released by Washington MedStar Hospital on Wednesday evening.
A congressional aide, a lobbyist, and two U.S. Capitol Police officers assigned to protect Scalise also were shot.
Police killed the shooter.
Pelosi noted that the Democrats, who practiced Wednesday at Gallaudet University, did not have a security detail assigned to their practice because neither she nor House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) were present.
Members of Congress are generally not entitled to a protective detail unless they are elected to a leadership position. However in some cases there has been a security detail for members who do not hold leadership positions, but it’s rare.
The U.S. Capitol Police have legal jurisdiction in all 50 states and also are authorized to protect members of Congress traveling abroad.
Former Congressman Bob Ney (R-Ohio), who as Chairman of the House Administration Committee oversaw the security of the U.S. Capitol Building, including the Capitol Hill Police diplomatic protection and members security division, told TMN that he trusts Pelosi and House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) to ensure both adequate protection for members and reasonable access for Capitol Hill visitors.
“They’re both of the mindset to not panic. They’re both of the mindset… security and safety-but you can’t make it a fortress. It has to be the people’s house. It has to be open,” he said.
Ney explained that fiscal constraints make it nearly impossible to guarantee a bodyguard for each member of Congress, but also said that members in certain situations can ask the U.S. Capitol Police to consider such requests.
Ney said Congress is not likely to pass a comprehensive appropriations bill to beef up security but said lawmakers might agree to allocate additional funds so as to protect members when they are outside the Capitol.
“I think what will happen here is you won’t see an outright appropriation but we probably will see some kind of special appropriation to allow Capitol Hill Police to have a few extra people on board-not for the Capitol-but specifically to interact with members and maybe their district offices-if necessary,” he said.
This article is republished with permission from Talk Media News
Bryan is a freelance political journalist who has extensive experience covering Congress and Maryland state government.
His work includes coverage of the election of Donald Trump, the confirmation hearings of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh and attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions-as well as that of the Maryland General Assembly, Gov. Larry Hogan, and the COVID-19 pandemic.
Bryan has broken stories involving athletic and sexual assault scandals with the Baltimore Post-Examiner.
His original UMBC investigation gained international attention, was featured in People Magazine and he was interviewed by ABC’s “Good Morning America” and local radio stations. Bryan broke subsequent stories documenting UMBC’s omission of a sexual assault on their daily crime log and a federal investigation related to the university’s handling of an alleged sexual assault.