House Dem calls for 'beefed up' security, special treatment for members by TSA

A top House Democrat said the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) should change how members of Congress are screened at airports.

“I really believe that that is the place where we feel the most ill at ease, is going through airports,” Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), who serves as assistant minority leader in the House, said on "Fox News Sunday."

Clyburn called for the Transportation Security Administration, which administers airport security checkpoints, to interact “a little better” with the Capitol Hill Police.

“We’ve had some incidents where TSA authorities think that congresspeople should be treated like everybody else,” he said. “Well, the fact of the matter is, we are held to a higher standard in so many other areas, and I think we need to take a hard look at exactly how the TSA interact with members of Congress.”


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot in the head at close range outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz., while holding a public event on Saturday. She remains in critical condition in an Tucson hospital. Gabe Zimmerman, a 30-year-old aide to the congresswoman, was one of six people killed in the attack.

Noting that local law enforcement were installed outside his South Carolina home after the attack on Giffords, Clyburn said the House may need to “beef up the funding” for individual members’ budgets so they can coordinate improved security arrangements with local police.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) said she was reluctant to attach a cumbersome layer of security to House members.

“I’m concerned about putting up more walls between myself and the people that I represent,” she said on Fox. “I want to make sure that we’re looking at it, that we’re making an appropriate response, that we as members are being smart in our interactions.”

McMorris Rodgers said she wasn’t concerned about her security. “I feel that the Capitol Police do a great job of warning us, of helping us and our staff be smart when we’re out in the district,” she said.