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'Suck it up': Democratic Rep. Cori Bush defends hiring private guards while seeking to defund police

Bush took the national stage in recent days for sleeping overnight on the U.S. Capitol steps to spotlight end of ban on COVID-related evictions.

Updated: August 5, 2021 - 5:04pm

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Rising Squad star Democratic Rep. Cori Bush is defending spending tens of thousands of dollars on a private security detail while continuing to call for police departments across the country to be defunded. 

"I’m going to make sure I have security because I know I have had attempts on my life," she told CBS News on Thursday. "And I have too much work to do, there are too many people that need help right now for me to allow that."

Bush, a first-term Missouri congresswoman, took the national stage in recent days for sleeping overnight on the U.S. Capitol steps to highlight what she considered moderate Washington Democrats' failure to extend the COVID-related moratorium on evictions. She essential won when the Biden administration on Monday extended the moratorium until October. 

The Squad is the House Democrats' most liberal wing and includes fellow Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, of New York, and Ilhan Omar, of Minnesota.

"So if I end up spending $200,000, if I spend ten more dollars on it, you know what, I get to be here to do the work, so suck it up," Bush, a supporter of the "defund" the police movement , also said in the interview. "And defunding the police has to happen. We need to defund the police and put that money into social safety nets."

Only congressional leaders are given a security detail. That situation was spotlighted last year when some Democrats said they felt unsafe at times and asked whether they could use campaign money for security expenses. 

The Federal Election Commission in March allowed members to use such money on security personnel.