Jul 27, 2022 - Politics & Policy

House sergeant-at-arms to cover security at lawmakers' homes

US Capitol Police officers outside the Capitol building before a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack.

Capitol Police officers outside the Capitol building before a hearing of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6t Attack. Photo: Tom Brenner/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The House sergeant-at-arms' office will cover the cost of security equipment at lawmakers' homes starting next month, per a memo sent to House members and staff this week.

Why it matters: The security measures aim to address a dramatic increase in threats against lawmakers, particularly in the wake of Jan. 6.

Driving the news: Beginning Aug. 15, the House sergeant-at-arms will cover certain security system equipment and installation costs at lawmakers' personal residents up to a combined total of $10,000.

  • The sergeant-at-arms will pay for fixed-rate monitoring and maintenance costs of up to $150 per month for each lawmaker, per the memo.
  • Members with multiple residences will determine how the $10,000 installation allotment and the $150 monthly monitoring and maintenance allowance will be utilized, the memo said.
  • Equipment can include motion sensors, enhanced locks and cameras, exterior lighting and recorders, among other systems.
  • Lawmakers will select a bona fide security company, which will be reviewed by the sergeant-at-arms, to install any of the equipment.
  • ABC News first reported on the program.

The big picture: The program dovetails with major steps Congress and the Capitol Police have taken to boost the security of lawmakers, and the Capitol building, in the year and a half since the Jan. 6 riot.

  • That effort includes a $1.9 billion emergency supplemental spending package passed last year to upgrade Capitol security features, fund post-riot repairs and reimburse law enforcement.
  • The Capitol Police also announced plans last year to launch field offices in Florida and San Francisco to better monitor threats to members.

State of play: The memo comes after Rep. Lee Zeldin, the New York Republican gubernatorial candidate, was attacked by a man with a pointed weapon at a rally last week.

  • The Monroe County Sheriff's Office said in a statement that the suspect climbed on stage at the event with "a weapon in his hand, swung it towards Zeldin's neck, and told him, 'You're done.'"

Between the lines: Threats are also on the rise among state officials and election workers, the Jan. 6 panel has revealed, noting that threats have increased in the wake of former President Trump's public pressure campaign after the 2020 election.

Go deeper... Capitol Police data indicates threats to lawmakers have surged since 2017

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