Two House Chairmen to Discuss Panels’ Roles in Security

Posted January 12, 2011 at 8:16pm

The two House chairmen with jurisdiction over the Capitol Police will huddle with the department’s chief and the House Sergeant-at-Arms to talk security this weekend at the GOP’s retreat in Baltimore.

House Administration Chairman Dan Lungren (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that he plans to meet with Capitol Police Chief Phillip Morse, Sergeant-at-Arms Bill Livingood and Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R-Fla.), chairman of the Legislative Branch Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee.

They will discuss the security of Members and staff in the wake of Saturday’s attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in Tucson. Six people were killed, including Giffords’ outreach director, Gabe Zimmerman.

Part of the discussion, Lungren said, will be the committees’ role in the safety of Members and staff members when they are in their Congressional districts.

Replicating the Secret Service or Capitol Police on a local level is “unrealistic; that’s not going to happen,” Lungren said. “The question is, how do you create the best scenario where you have cooperation from the local police? And we can facilitate that.”

He also said a priority is raising awareness among Members about how to keep themselves and their staffs safe.

“This is one of the two reasons I got on this committee six years ago: because I have a genuine interest and concern about the security,” said Lungren, a former attorney general of California. “I’ve made it abundantly clear when I was going to be chairman that it’s going to be a priority. Let’s just say this horrible tragedy elevates it.”