House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer addressed the possibility of needing additional security funding to protect congressmen and their staffs after he met with House Majority Whip Steve Scalise in the hospital Tuesday morning.
Scalise, after being shot at a congressional baseball game practice last week, is still at MedStar Washington Medical Hospital.
“This morning, I visited Steve Scalise. We met together for a relatively short time. He’s been through, obviously, very, very extensive operations. He’s tired,” Hoyer said. “This was an attack on everybody in the government, it seems — an attack on Congress, an attack on democracy.”
Told press I visited my friend @SteveScalise at the hospital today & we discussed how my staff can support his in the coming weeks.
— Steny Hoyer (@WhipHoyer) June 20, 2017
Hoyer went on to discuss how safety concerns are being treated in Congress, following reports that congressmen on both sides of the aisle want to re-think security. “I believe there is an ongoing, right now, very significant analysis of risks and ways to respond to those risks,” said Hoyer, without going into depth regarding the analysis or who is conducting it.
“Dollars and cents should not be the major driving force,” Hoyer added when pressed on security costs. He said that funding would “obviously” be a consideration, but the chief concern should be that people are not scared to serve their communities by running for Congress simply due to safety concerns.
“My recommendation would be to have a general fund in the legislative budget which is dedicated to the security of the members and their staff,” Hoyer said, emphasizing that security is a public responsibility.
A lot of members are concerned about their district staffs as well, many of which work out of leased office spaces with little to no security. “We all know that we have a lot of demonstrations in these offices,” he said. “So there’s a lot of concern about that, and that will be part of the discussion.”
Hoyer assured that, overall, there will be “heightened attention” to security for any event involving members of Congress.
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