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Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security

Lawmakers say they are 'targets,' ask to boost security
© Julia Nikhinson

More than 30 House lawmakers are calling for increased security, saying they are “targets” in the aftermath of the deadly rioting on the Capitol earlier this month.

Lawmakers in a letter to Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiWhite House races clock to beat GOP attacks Sunday shows - Infrastructure dominates Liz Cheney says allegations against Gaetz are 'sickening,' refuses to say if he should resign MORE (D-Calif.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyPelosi on whether Gaetz should resign: 'That's up to the Republicans to take responsibility for that' Boehner finally calls it as he sees it Republican House campaign arm rakes in .7 million in first quarter MORE (R-Calif.) on Thursday asked if they can expand their congressional allowances to go toward protection in their home districts, “where security is often sparse.”  The letter, which was first obtained by CBS News, was also addressed to Reps. Zoe LofgrenZoe Ellen LofgrenCapitol Police watchdog issues report slamming 'deficiencies' before riot Lofgren says she's been briefed on 'disturbing' police report on riot Pelosi downplays concerns from moderates about reviewing contested Iowa race MORE (D-Calif.) and Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisGOP lawmakers request briefing on Democrats' claims of 'suspicious' Capitol tours before Jan. 6 Republicans take victory lap after Iowa Democrat drops challenge Democrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race MORE (R-Ill.), the chairwoman and ranking member, respectively, of the House Administration Committee.

Thirty-one Democrats and one Republican, Rep. Fred UptonFrederick (Fred) Stephen UptonBipartisan lawmakers call for action on anti-hate crime measures Bipartisan lawmakers urge Biden to send more vaccines to Michigan amid spike University of Michigan regent, who chairs state GOP, censured over 'witches' comment MORE (R-Mich.), want greater flexibility for the Members’ Representational Allowances (MRAs) — the money provided to lawmaker offices to pay for staff, mail and other operational expenses. 

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The MRAs currently allow lawmakers to pay for security equipment or security at local events, but the lawmakers want to allocate funding for security updates at their district offices, security personnel in their districts and security items for their homes.

Members called the funding rules “constrictive and anachronistic.” 

“It is time to rethink these rules” amid increased threats, they wrote. 

“The structure of the Capitol Police and the laws against threatening Members of Congress were first crafted in a much different time when the threat environment was significantly lower,” their letter, authored by Reps. Josh GottheimerJoshua (Josh) GottheimerHouse panel opens probe into Tom Reed over sexual misconduct allegations Fitzpatrick replaces Tom Reed as House Problem Solvers co-chair Democratic governors urge Biden to remove SALT cap MORE (D-N.J.) and Dean PhillipsDean PhillipsDemocrat Rita Hart withdraws challenge in Iowa House race Pelosi downplays concerns from moderates about reviewing contested Iowa race Moderate Democrats warn leaders against meddling in Iowa race MORE (D-Mich.), reads. 

"Today, with the expansion of the web and social media sites, so much information about Members is accessible in the public sphere, making them easier targets, including home addresses, photos, personal details about Members' families, and real-time information on Member attendance at events,” they added. 

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The members also called on leaders to make “concerted efforts” to limit lawmakers’ personal information from being publicly available.

Threats against lawmakers have increased in recent years, with former Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifying that there were 4,894 threats against members in fiscal 2018, compared to 902 investigated threats in 2016, lawmakers wrote.  

Their letter comes a day after the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) cautioned that the U.S. could face increased threats from “ideologically-motivated violent extremists” after President Biden’s inauguration. 

In the raid on the Capitol earlier this month, which resulted in five deaths, supporters of former President TrumpDonald TrumpGaetz was denied meeting with Trump: CNN Federal Reserve chair: Economy would have been 'so much worse' without COVID-19 relief bills Police in California city declare unlawful assembly amid 'white lives matter' protest MORE stormed the building as Congress met to certify Biden’s election win.