Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonIlhan Omar to Biden: 'Deliver on your promise to cancel student debt' Supreme Court declines to hear dispute over DC representation in Congress The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows MORE (D-D.C.) on Monday urged the Secret Service not to close off the streets in front of the White House following a recent security breach and asked for a meeting with officials.
Norton, the District of Columbia’s non-voting representative in Congress, asked to meet with U.S. Secret Service Director Julia Pierson to discuss potential changes that could restrict public access.
The Secret Service is reviewing its White House security procedures, including staffing and possibly expanding the perimeter around the executive mansion.
On Friday evening, a man carrying a knife scaled the White House fence and made it all the way through the front doors of the North Portico before agents tackled him. A day later, another man drove up to the White House gate and refused to leave.
Norton, though, argued that the streets surrounding the White House, including Lafayette Park, are "First Amendment protected areas" that should not be closed off to the public.
"It is important to keep Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House and the surrounding area, including Lafayette Park, Pennsylvania Avenue, 17th Street and 15th Street, as accessible to the public as possible," Norton wrote in a letter to Pierson.
"These are First Amendment protected areas used by the public on a daily basis to both see the residence of the president and engage in their constitutional right to petition the government, and must be kept open for their continued daily use."
Norton noted that she pushed for street re-openings after the Secret Service closed off E Street and Pennsylvania Avenue around the White House after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. She called on the agency to first conduct a full investigation on why existing procedures were not used, such as releasing specially trained dogs as soon as the intruder scaled the fence.
"The public must be assured that limiting access or physical changes to the area are necessary, and so far that case has not been made," Norton wrote.
Norton, who has served as D.C.'s representative since 1991, said that any changes to the White House perimeter should maintain its historical appearance. She suggested changes like altering the shape and height of the White House fence, extra funding to increase staffing or adding more patrol dogs.
"If, however, you are able to establish that physical changes are necessary, those changes should be in line with current public access to the areas surrounding the White House and maintain the current views of this historic and national landmark," Norton said.