In the wake of a mass shooting in Arizona that left six dead and one congresswoman in the hospital, some Republican lawmakers seem to be most worried about finding ways to protect themselves.
Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN) wants to enclose the House Gallery in “a transparent and substantial material” such as Plexiglas, an aide told CBS News.
His legislation aims to keep the public from being able to throw explosives or other materials at members while they are on the House floor.
It’s not the first time Burton has proposed such a measure. An earlier bill reads, “The Architect of the Capitol shall enclose the visitors’ galleries of the House of Representatives with a transparent and substantial material, and shall install equipment so that the proceedings on the floor of the House of Representatives will be clearly audible in the galleries.”
The bill cites past attacks on Congress, including a 1915 bombing by an anti-war protester, the shooting of five members of Congress during a vote in 1954, and a 1971 bomb placed in the Senate bathroom by the Weather Underground. It’s not clear how the proposed legislation would have made a difference in the case of the Weather Underground bomb.
Another GOP congressman, Rep. Peter King of New York, is advancing a bill that would make it a crime to bring a firearm within 1,000 feet of a government official.
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg released a statement Tuesday backing the measure.
“In the United States, it is illegal to bring a gun within 1,000 feet of a school,” the statement said. “Passing a similar law for government officials would give federal, state, and local law enforcement a better chance to intercept would-be shooters before they pull the trigger.”
Democrats are also planning their own legislation in reaction to the shootings.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), two of the most outspoken gun control advocates in Congress, were also sponsoring legislation that would restrict high-capacity ammunition clips like the one used Saturday.
“The only reason to have 33 bullets loaded in a handgun is to kill a lot of people very quickly,” Lautenberg said in a statement. “These high-capacity clips simply should not be on the market. Before 2004, these ammunition clips were banned, and they must be banned again.”
Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. (D-IL) has proposed increasing lawmakers’ budgets by 10 percent to pay for extra security in district offices.
“I will propose a 10 percent increase in member budgets for security measures,” he said. “In some districts, that will mean hiring security personnel for public events. In other areas, that may mean installing surveillance cameras at district offices as a deterrent or improving the locks or the entry systems in district offices. Some will need more resources in order to move their offices to a safer area.”
“I do not feel that fear should grip us, but since 9/11 we’ve secured every federal facility with the exception of our district offices. After the events of last weekend it is clear that our district staffs are vulnerable. Members should have the resources and the latitude to take the appropriate security measures in order to protect themselves and their staffs,” Jackson added.
The legislation would also restore a five percent cut in House member budgets enacted by Republicans last week.
— With earlier reporting by Sahil Kapur
‘You don’t get to dictate terms’: Trump soundly mocked for demanding speedy resolution to impeachment
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House Democrats moved the impeachment process from the Intelligence Committee to the Judiciary Committee after nearly two weeks of testimony, and Trump called for a speedy end to the matter.
"The Do Nothing Democrats had a historically bad day yesterday in the House," Trump tweeted. "They have no Impeachment case and are demeaning our Country. But nothing matters to them, they have gone crazy."
"Therefore I say, if you are going to impeach me, do it now, fast, so we can have a fair trial in the Senate, and so that our Country can get back to business," he added. "We will have Schiff, the Bidens, Pelosi and many more testify, and will reveal, for the first time, how corrupt our system really is. I was elected to 'Clean the Swamp,' and that’s what I am doing!"
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Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on Thursday endorsed drafting articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump and made the case that the president's actions made him a threat to American democracy.
During her address, Pelosi explained that the stakes in impeaching Trump were the very foundations of American government.
"Our democracy is at stake," she said. "The president leaves us no choice but to act because he is trying to corrupt, once again, the election for his own benefit. The president has engaged in abuse of power, undermining our national security, and jeopardizing the integrity of our elections."
InfoWars made up lies about Islamic community to help Alex Jones generate more traffic: former writer
On Thursday, The New York Times reported that Josh Owens, a former staffer at the fringe conspiracy theory site InfoWars, admitted that his team knowingly promoted fake stories about Islamberg, a rural religious community founded by mostly Black Muslims from New York City on the border between New York and Pennsylvania.
According to Owens, InfoWars initially conducted interviews with people near the community, hoping that they would tell horror stories about a group of militants hellbent on enslaving America under Sharia law. Instead, locals described the people of Islamberg as "kind, generous neighbors." This wasn't a story Alex Jones would have been able to sell to his far-right conspiracy theorist audience — so, Owens said, his team decided to just lie.