GOP talking security for ObamaCare protests: report

GOP talking security for ObamaCare protests: report
© Greg Nash

House Republicans have begun discussing behind closed doors measures for protecting themselves and their staff from protesters furious about the GOP effort to repeal ObamaCare.

House Republican Conference Chairwoman Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHouse passes school safety bill amid gun protests House GOP frets over Pennsylvania race House poised to pass school safety measure MORE (Wash.) has tasked Rep. Dave ReichertDavid (Dave) George ReichertWith bills on the table, Congress must heed the call to fix our national parks 107 House Republicans express 'deep concern' about Trump tariffs Overnight Finance: Cohn resigns from White House | Senate moves forward on Dodd-Frank rollback | House eyes vote on funding bill next week MORE (R-Wash.) with suggesting safety measures for lawmakers, Politico reported Tuesday.

Reichert, a former police sheriff, allegedly offered tips for preserving the security of congressional offices and constituent town halls.

“The message was: One, be careful for security purposes,” said Rep. Mark Walker (R-N.C.). "Watch your back.”

“And two, be receptive,” added Walker, the chairman of the Republican Study Committee. "Because it is toxic out there right now. Even some of the guys who have been around here a lot longer than I have have never seen it to this level.”

Reichert suggested having local police monitor town halls, it said, and having a physical exit strategy for such events.

The Washington lawmaker also floated replacing glass doors with heavier barriers and setting up intercoms to filter out potential disruptors before they enter offices.

“It’s not that you run from protesters, but if someone suggests some sort of physical threat or are espousing a verbal threat that could lead to a physical threat, if you feel that you’re in danger and your staff is in danger, call 911 and leave and go out the back door,” Reichert said after the meeting.

“The world is sometimes not a friendly place,” he said, referencing the mass shooting at a 2011 constituent event former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) held in Tucson.

“There is a mission out there right amongst some people to disrupt the offices of certain members … to make us look inaccessible, unresponsive and like we’re not doing anything. … There is a list of things you can do to make sure your people are safe.”

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanHouse Dem moves to force vote on bill protecting Mueller Collins: 'Extremely disappointing' ObamaCare fix left out of spending deal House poised to vote on .3T spending bill MORE (R-Wis.) said Tuesday that Congress’s work to repeal and replace ObamaCare would finish “this year."

Ryan has put forward an even more ambitious timetable in the House, focusing on late March for moving ObamaCare legislation.

GOP lawmakers are facing rising heat from constituents, some of who oppose changing former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaRivals and consumers will rein in Facebook, not regulation Obamas send handwritten note to Parkland students: 'We will be there for you' Water has experienced a decade of bipartisan success MORE’s signature healthcare law.