Politics

Pelosi Argues Capitol Police Need Bigger Budget

In wake of shooting, members evaluate security of lawmakers

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi leaves a congressional meeting about the shooting at the Republicans’ baseball practice in Alexandria, Va., on Wednesday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that Capitol Police should get more resources to protect members and the public in the wake of the previous day’s shooting at a congressional baseball practice that left House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in critical condition.

The California Democrat said she’s received incessant threats throughout her life in public service and won’t let her grandchildren answer her phone at home due to ugly calls she receives. She also indicated she had been hacked last fall.

“I think we can give them more resources,” Pelosi said of the police force that oversees members and visitors to the Capitol.

She said Louisiana Rep. Cedric L. Richmond, the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has suggested there be a way for members to summon additional resources due to “so many reasons for concern” for the group.

According to House Appropriations Committee staffers, language is being drafted that would allow rank-and-file House members to spend money from their office accounts on personal security expenses, in light of Wednesday’s shooting.

“Nobody has as many as I do,” Pelosi said about threats she has received. “It’s really disgusting, some of the forms it takes.”

Only members of House leadership have Capitol Police security details. Several members of Congress have said that had Scalise not been present at practice — and therefore no security detail present — the situation could have been much worse.

“It didn’t used to be this way,” Pelosi said of negative political climate. “I really am almost sad for myself that I have gone down this path with you.”

Despite the call for more money for police, the minority leader said rank-and-file members had not indicated they want security to be with them around the clock.

She expressed the most concern for staffers, particularly those in congressional districts who cannot necessarily summon police protection as easily as those who work inside the Capitol.

“The security evaluations have to be done by the Capitol Police,” Pelosi said, when asked if large congregations of lawmakers should have a police presence if leadership is not there. “That would be based on what members tell them [about] how they’ve been threatened or what their staffs have been exposed to.”

Katherine Tully McManus contributed to this story.

Contact Rahman at remarahman@cqrollcall.com or follow her on Twitter at @remawriter.Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call on your iPhone or your Android.