Capitol Police chief seeks additional security funds

Attack that sent Speaker Pelosi’s husband to the hospital spurs calls for more resources, coordination with local law enforcement

U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger prepares to testify on his agency’s budget request during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in March.  (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
U.S. Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger prepares to testify on his agency’s budget request during a House Appropriations subcommittee hearing in March. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)
Posted November 1, 2022 at 3:59pm

The U.S. Capitol Police are calling for more security funding for lawmakers after last week’s attack on Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband at the couple’s San Francisco home.

Capitol Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said in a Tuesday statement that the department has conducted a review of the attack, in which a hammer-wielding assailant fractured Paul Pelosi’s skull.

“We believe today’s political climate calls for more resources to provide additional layers of physical security for Members of Congress,” Manger said. “This plan would include an emphasis on adding redundancies to the measures that are already in place for Congressional leadership.”

Manger said he could not publicly disclose the details of these improvements to protect members for safety reasons.

“The USCP is working tirelessly to keep everyone safe during this tense time in American politics,” Manger said. “We understand the urgency of today’s challenges and remain committed to our mission.”

Manger's office is working on a formal request to submit to lawmakers, the agency said in a follow-up statement.

Pelosi’s attacker, who broke into their home using a hammer, was targeting the speaker, who was not in town at the time. Paul Pelosi is making “steady progress on what will be a long recovery process,” Pelosi’s office said Monday.

Manger said the department is working to strengthen partnerships with law enforcement agencies across the country to provide security to members when they are outside of Washington.

“The assistance we receive from our partner agencies is crucial to ensure the safety and security of the Members of Congress while they are away from the U.S. Capitol,” he said. “The Department will continue to coordinate with state and local law enforcement agencies on Member security.”

The Capitol Police have been implementing changes since the January 6th, 2021, attack on the Capitol and are on track to hire 280 officers by the end of the year, Manger said.

“While progress has been made, there is still a lot of work to do,” Manger said. “The Department’s long-term plans to expand our protective operations are already underway — their importance only emphasized by Friday’s brutal attack. We will continue to work with our Congressional partners to add additional agents and security enhancements to support our protective operations mission.”

Manger asked appropriators this spring for a $105.5 million budget increase for fiscal 2023, including to hire more officers. He said in the year after Jan. 6, the department lost between 140 and 150 officers, double the normal attrition rate, and had about 300 officers fewer than needed as of March.

The fiscal 2023 Legislative Branch spending bill that the House Appropriations Committee approved in June would provide $708 million for the Capitol Police, a $105.6 million or 17.5 percent increase above the prior fiscal year.

The Senate version of the bill would provide nearly the same amount for the Capitol Police: $707.1 million. The Senate version matches the House bill in funding 137 additional officers and 123 civilian support personnel, which would bring the department’s numbers up to 2,126 officers and 567 civilians.

Both bills would set aside $2 million to provide off-campus security for members due to growing threats. A report accompanying the Senate bill said threats against lawmakers more than doubled in 2021, to 9,600, and in the first three months of 2022 the Capitol Police opened investigations into 1,800 threats against members.

House and Senate appropriators are aiming to reach an agreement on a fiscal 2023 omnibus appropriations package during the lame-duck session following the midterm elections.

Senate Appropriations Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-V.t., will work with the Capitol Police to determine what funding is needed to protect members and their families above the 17 percent increase already included in the Senate Legislative Branch bill, Leahy spokesman Jay Tilton said in a statement.

“Chairman Leahy looks forward to working with USCP in the coming weeks to determine what other resources need to be included in the omnibus to address the threats to members and their families,” Tilton said, adding that Leahy is “deeply saddened and outraged” by the attack on Pelosi.

House Appropriations Chair Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said her chamber's Legislative Branch bill includes funding previously requested by the agency, and that she'd work with colleagues at both ends of the Capitol in omnibus talks to ensure "the brave men and women of the USCP have the resources they need.”