Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting

Lawmakers consider new security funding in wake of shooting

Lawmakers rattled by the shooting last week at a GOP baseball practice are considering how to expand their budgets for enhanced security measures. 

Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids MORE (R-Wis.) laid out possible ways Congress could increase lawmakers' security budgets at a House GOP conference meeting Friday morning.

House appropriators unveiled a spending bill for legislative branch operations the day before that would increase funding for the Capitol Police by $29.2 million compared to the current enacted spending level. It includes $7.5 million for increased training, equipment and technology support.

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Ryan also discussed a proposal to increase members' annual representational allowances by $25,000 to help lawmakers pay for security measures. Such a policy has not been finalized, according to an aide. 

The extra funds could be used to pay for security at members' district offices or public events.

GOP leaders are also looking for ways for lawmakers to use either federal funds from the allowance or campaign funds to secure their homes.

"That's still up in the air," said Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.).

Some lawmakers said using federal dollars for home security has the potential for abuse.

"My concern is my friends on the left will build a guest house with it," said conservative Rep. Trent FranksHarold (Trent) Trent FranksHouse forges ahead with Dec. 22 spending bill Conservatives fear end-of-year ‘Christmas tree’ spending bill Adoption tax credit restored after conservative backlash MORE (R-Ariz.), who has had threats made against him. "I love the idea of not getting shot. That's a positive to me. I'm not sure where I am about using public money for home security because half of Democrats will build a boat barn and a guest house."

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) has issued case-by-case rulings for members to use campaign funds for security purposes. The idea under discussion would be for the FEC to issue a blanket ruling allowing any member to do so.

A gunman opened fire at the GOP baseball practice last Wednesday morning and shot four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.). Scalise came close to death and is still recovering at MedStar Washington Hospital Center.

Members of leadership like Scalise are all assigned individual Capitol Police security details. Lawmakers have acknowledged that without Scalise's security detail on hand, the scene likely would have turned into a massacre.