Oct 31, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Congress eyes greater security after Pelosi attack

Paul and Nancy Pelosi

Photo: Stefano Costantino/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Capitol Police is conducting a full review of the attack on Paul Pelosi to determine what, if any, policy changes should be made to further protect lawmakers and their family members, a senior aide familiar with the matter told Axios.

Why it matters: The attack on the 82-year-old husband of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi re-ignited concerns among members of Congress about their own security amid rising threats of violence against lawmakers and other public officials.

  • "We are completely vulnerable at a time when the risks are increasing. ... We need more ways to protect members and their families," Rep. Mike Quigley (D-Ill.) told Axios on Saturday, in the wake of the attack.

What we're hearing: Senior congressional aides in the House and Senate also told Axios they plan to explore a series of options for beefing up member security when they return from recess in mid-November.

  • It's not yet clear what type of legislation they may propose in the lame duck session, but a key question is how to protect the family members of Congress' most high-profile figures.

Context: The attack on Paul Pelosi occurred at their San Francisco residence early Saturday morning. The speaker was out of town, meaning the home wasn't being guarded by her Capitol Police detail.

  • The assailant, 42-year-old David DePape, told police he was able to break into their home through a glass door using a hammer, and found Paul Pelosi asleep in his bed, according to an FBI affidavit.

The backdrop: Congress has worked over the last few years to ramp up security for members who are considered to face active threats, as well as for those in leadership positions.

  • Members of the Jan. 6 select committee, for instance, were granted security details in June as they were kicking off a series of nationally televised public hearing.
  • Most rank-and-file members as well as their families do not have official security – though some have paid for private security through campaign funds.
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