Nov 1, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Capitol Police chief calls for more security around lawmakers

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger, wearing a police jacket and hat, stands in front of a camera at the Capitol at night.

Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images.

U.S. Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger on Tuesday called for more resources to boost security around members of Congress, and congressional leadership in particular, after a review of the recent violent attack on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's (D-Calif.) husband.

Why it matters: The attack on Friday, which left 82-year-old Paul Pelosi hospitalized with serious injuries, increased concerns among some lawmakers about their personal safety amid rising threats against public officials.

What they're saying: In Tuesday's statement, Manger said Capitol Police "believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for Members of Congress."

  • He said this will include added "redundancies" to existing security for congressional leadership, but declined to disclose specifics because "our country cannot afford to make it easier for any potential bad actors."
  • "During this time of heightened political tension, we continue to monitor thousands of cases across the country," Manger said.
  • He also appeared to prod local prosecutors to be more aggressive with those arrested for threatening lawmakers, stating: "During the past five-years, roughly 12-percent of cases — in which we identified people making threats — have been prosecuted. We hope to see more of these cases prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

"Given the violent attack on Paul Pelosi, we fully support the efforts by the Senate Sergeant At Arms and the U.S. Capitol Police to conduct a review and provide an assessment of security for members and their families," Justin Goodman, spokesperson for Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said in a statement.

  • "We look forward to exploring every option available to ensure maximum safety."

Background: Capitol security has seen a transformation in the nearly two years since the Jan. 6 attack.

  • Last July, Congress passed a supplemental funding package that included $300 million in infrastructure upgrades to the Capitol and more than $70 million to cover the Capitol Police's Jan. 6-related expenses.
  • That same month, the Capitol Police established field offices in Tampa and San Francisco. The latter office was involved in the response to the Pelosi attack.
  • This summer, the House sergeant-at-arms announced a $10,000 allotment to help lawmakers secure their residences in their districts.

Yes, but: Some members, many of whom lack the security details granted to leadership and other high-profile members, say more still needs to be done.

What we're watching: Senior congressional aides in both chambers told Axios on Monday that Congress could vote on security-related legislation in the lame-duck session after the Nov. 8 midterm elections.

  • A bill to allow federal judges to shield their personal information has been folded into the National Defense Authorization Act, which is routinely green-lit by Congress. Security for members of Congress could be added to that.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details.

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