Jul 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police urge protesters to stay away from Congressional Baseball Game

Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) fist bumping Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) during the 2021 Congressional Baseball Game in Washington, D.C.
Rep. Greg Steube (R-Fla.) fist bumps Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) during the 2021 Congressional Baseball Game in Washington, D.C. Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Capitol Police Chief Tom Manger urged demonstrators Wednesday to "stay home" rather than protest the upcoming Congressional Baseball Game, saying the department will not "tolerate violence or any unlawful behavior" during the event.

Why it matters: Congress plays a baseball game for various charities most years, but climate organizations and activists have said they plan to protest for federal legislation to address climate change at this year's game, which is set for Thursday night at Nationals Park.

  • A new coalition of climate organizations called "Now or Never" said on Tuesday that "dozens" of activists will first rally outside the ballpark, which will be followed by "some participants engaging in nonviolent acts of civil disobedience."

What they're saying: “We are aware that demonstrators are planning to protest political issues at the Congressional Baseball Game for Charity," Manger said in a statement Wednesday.

  • "Our mission is to protect the Members of Congress during this family event, so we have a robust security plan in place. We urge anyone who is thinking about causing trouble at the charity game to stay home. We will not tolerate violence or any unlawful behavior during this family event," he added.
  • For safety reasons, Capitol Police said it could not disclose details about its security plan for the game.

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) said it was also increasing security in the area in response to "potential First Amendment activities that may take place during the Congressional Baseball Game."

  • "As with all First Amendment demonstrations, MPD will be monitoring and assessing the activities and planning accordingly with our federal law enforcement partners," it added in a statement.

Now or Never, in announcing its demonstration, said it was in response to Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and "his Republican allies sabotaging historic federal climate legislation."

  • "Protestors will demand that President Biden and the Democrats step up to the plate immediately and start playing hardball — before it is game over for America’s families and future," the group added.
  • Mike Tidwell, executive director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund, wrote in the Washington Post on Wednesday that he and others will be "peacefully engaged in civil disobedience" at the game.

The big picture: Bipartisan Senate energy talks led by Manchin crumbled last month, essentially leaving congressional Democrats the option to pursue climate legislation in a potential reconciliation package.

  • However, they would need Manchin's vote to pass such as package.
  • While Manchin claims he hasn't closed the door on climate and energy provisions in a package, Democrats remain skeptical that Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will be able to reach an agreement on climate with Manchin.
  • Six House staffers were arrested on Monday for protesting for climate legislation in Schumer's office, demanding he continue negotiations with Manchin.
  • Multiple people, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), were shot after a gunman opened fire on a Republican practice session for the 2017 Congressional Baseball Game. Scalise was in critical condition after the shooting but survived.

Go deeper: White House holds out hope for Manchin climate deal

Editor's note: This story has been updated with a statement from the Metropolitan Police Department

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