After Democratic lawmakers were targeted by death threats and vandalism, House Democrats met with members of the Capitol Police today to discuss security concerns.
Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and Majority Whip James Clyburn held a press conference this afternoon on Capitol Hill, saying members had raised concerns and that Capitol Police told them to address any suspicious activity around the Capitol.
"Any member who feels themselves at risk is getting attention from the proper authorities," Hoyer said. At least 10 Democratic lawmakers have complained of threats or other security concerns.
"I think that we've had very serious incidents that have occurred over the last 48, 72 hours," Hoyer said.
Those incidents have reportedly included death threats to Rules Committee Chairwoman Louise Slaughter and to Rep. Bart Stupak, who struck a last-minute deal with the White House on abortion Sunday, hours before the House voted; vandalism of the district offices of Slaughter and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords; and a brick through the window of the a county Democratic Party headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. The FBI is reportedly investigating a severed gas line at the home of Rep. Tom Perriello's brother after tea partiers posted the brother's address online, believing it to be Rep. Perriello's.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked the Capitol Police to meet with House Republicans as well. Though critics have suggested that Republicans bear some responsibility for egging on disgruntled tea partiers (e.g., RNC Chairman Michael Steele has taken heat today for suggesting Pelosi be put on a "firing line") the meeting was not requested for the purpose of asking House Republicans to tone down their rhetoric, a Pelosi spokesman said, rather for the purpose of addressing security concerns.
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