House Dems express security concerns for State of the Union, cite GOP scaling back post-J6 measures

President Biden, most members of Congress, the president's Cabinet and the Supreme Court justices will all be in the Capitol building.

Published: February 3, 2023 1:58pm

Updated: February 3, 2023 7:22pm

Roughly a dozen House Democrats are expressing "urgent concern" about security for Tuesday night's State of the Union address, citing Republicans scaling back security measure imposed after the Jan. 6 riot.

The lawmakers expressed their concerns Wednesday in a letter to the Democrat and Republican leaders of the House and Senate.

"We write with urgent concern for the safety and security of the President, other dignitaries, and guests at the upcoming State of the Union Address," they wrote in the letter, as reported by the news organization Axios. "The GOP House Majority's new rules have made the safety and security of the House Chamber ... at risk to infiltration and violence with reckless changes to necessary preventative measures,"

President Biden will deliver his second State of the Union address in the House chamber, as is customary for U.S. presidents. 

House Democrats under former Speaker Nancy Pelosi imposed tighter security after the 2020 riot.

In their letter to congressional leaders, the Democrats ask what steps have been taken to tight security for the address, which most member of Congress will attend along with Supreme Court justices and the other dignitaries. 

House Republicans since taking charge of the chamber in January have already had the metal detectors outside of the House chamber removed.

During a National Resources Committee meeting this week, Democrats tried to reinstate a ban on lawmakers carrying guns in the committee rooms.

California Democrat Rep. Jared Huffman said "nobody" likes the metal detectors.

"They're annoying," he said. "But if you're not going to have some meaningful rules and enforcement at the perimeter of the Capitol, at a minimum you've got to make sure the House chamber is a safe place."

At least one House Republican said she feels like she needs a gun everywhere on Capitol Hill.

"I feel like I need [a gun] everywhere here," said Colorado GOP Rep. Lauren Boebert after Huffman asked whether members feel they need a gun in committee hearings, Axios also reported. 

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