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

“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.”

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.

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.

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