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Members of Congress on 'High Alert,' Improving Security

A series of high-profile security incidents is rattling members of Congress and prompting security officials to take major steps to shore up lawmakers' security. Threats against lawmakers have risen sharply, and many are still reeling from the violence of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, reports Axios. The House sergeant-at-arms plans to cover costs of security upgrades to members' homes, including $10,000 for equipment and installation costs and $150 a month for monitoring and maintenance. A few weeks ago, a man was arrested for threatening Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) outside her home while armed with a handgun. More recently, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), who's running for governor, was attacked by a man holding a sharp object.

Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), who chairs an appropriations subcommittee overseeing the Capitol Police, said "everybody's on high alert" ... The threats are real, the increases have been unbelievable. We've got to do everything we can to try to make sure people are safe. Lot of wild cats out there." Jayapal doesn't think security officials are doing enough. "I think we need a lot more. And, you know, I've learned a lot from going through this myself," she said. After she was threatened outside her home, she received a recommendation of $50,000-$60,000 in security upgrades. She said security officials should help scrub members' addresses from the internet and improve communication with members' offices. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), who has received many death threats, wants a fundamental security overhaul. ”If you’re on a certain committee, if you have a certain [leadership] title, your security is already taken care of. But increasingly we are having … rank-and-file members, not just me, but many others, who are subject to increasing threats,” she said.


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