House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday that House members can pay for additional security measures with their congressional allowances, and said the House would likely need to pass additional funding for member safety because “the enemy is within the House of Representatives.”
“It shouldn’t be that not only is the president of the United States inciting an insurrection, but keeps fanning the flame endangering the security of members of Congress, to the point that they’re even concerned about members in the House of Representatives being a danger to them,” she said.
Asked what she meant by “the enemy is within,” the California Democrat said, “It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress.”
Some Republican representatives, including Andy Harris of Maryland and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, have reportedly expressed a desire or attempted to bring guns to the floor of the House chamber, where they are prohibited. Pelosi ordered the installation of magnetometers outside the House chamber in the wake of the January 6 assault and pledged to institute thousands of dollars in fines for members who refused to abide by the screening.
Another Republican member, Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, posted a speech to Facebook in February 2019 where she said Pelosi, “is guilty of treason … a crime punishable by death.”
Earlier in her press conference, the speaker questioned the decision by Republican leadership to give Greene a seat on the House Education and Labor Committee in light of Greene’s previous assertion that school shootings were “false-flag” operations.
“What could they be thinking — or is thinking too generous a word about what they might be doing? It’s absolutely appalling,” Pelosi said.
The speaker’s comments came in response to a question about a request from more than 30 members of the House of Representatives to use their congressional allowances to augment their personal safety in their home districts by hiring local law enforcement or other security personnel, among other things. The letter was first obtained by CBS News.
Members asked for greater latitude in how they spend their Members’ Representational Allowance, an annual allotment set by the Committee on House Administration that provides members with the operating budget for staff, mail and other office expenses to carry out their official duties.
“I do think though that while it’s appropriate that they use their MRA for their security, they should not have to because money is there to meet the needs of constituents,” Pelosi said.
The January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol increased many lawmakers’ uneasiness about their personal safety in Washington, but even more so at home, where they lack the protection afforded by the Capitol Police — and where most spend the majority of their time.
Pelosi said she will meet later Thursday with retired Lieutenant General Russel Honoré, who is conducting a security review of the Capitol and studying member security both in Washington, D.C. and in their districts, as well as transportation in between.
Zak Hudak contributed to this story.