Lawmakers to Use Taxpayer Funds for Home Security

The House adopted a measure on Wednesday that would allow lawmakers to use taxpayer money to pay for home security systems in the wake of last month’s shooting at a GOP baseball practice, The Hill reports.

Representative Mia Love offered an amendment to a national security-themed spending package on the House floor that would make the change, and it passed easily by a voice vote with support from members of both parties.

Love’s proposal came a month after the Federal Election Commission (FEC) ruled that members of Congress can use campaign funds to pay for residential security measures that don’t amount to structural improvements to their homes. Previously, lawmakers could only use campaign money for such a purpose on a case-by-case basis with FEC approval.

In addition, the House passed a measure last month that grants lawmakers an extra $25,000 to pay for security needs as part of their annual member’s allowance. Those funds are only allowed for security at lawmakers’ offices or public events considered official business.

But Love said that incumbent members of Congress should be able to use federal funds allocated toward their office budgets, known as the Member Representational Allowance, to pay for home security. Her proposal would align with the FEC ruling allowing the expenses so long as the security measures aren’t structural improvements to lawmakers’ homes.

“We do not face these threats because we are candidates for office, but because we are sitting members of Congress,” Love said during House floor debate. She noted that someone recently posted her address on social media with the statement, “we have signed your death certificate, you won’t see us coming.”

The House sergeant at arms recently revealed that Capitol Police had investigated more threats against lawmakers in the first half of the years than in all of 2016.

“Unfortunately, we find ourselves in a time where this is needed,” said Representative Cedric Richmond. “We need to make sure that we safeguard ourselves in this rising time of new threats and dangers.” he added.

Lawmakers have been on edge since the baseball shooting last month in suburban Washington that wounded House Majority Whip Steve Scalise, a Capitol Police officer, a staffer for Representative Roger Williams and a Tyson Foods lobbyist.

Scalise’s office announced earlier Wednesday, six weeks after the June 14 shooting at a GOP practice, that he has been discharged from MedStar Washington Hospital Center and is now beginning rehabilitation.

Fellow House Republicans on the scene have acknowledged that the shooting likely would have turned into a massacre had Scalise not been present with his Capitol Police security detail assigned to him as a member of leadership.

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