The shock of yesterday’s senseless shooting that left 5 victims injured, including Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) who remains in critical condition, is starting to wear off. The platitudes and expressions of concern, and the bi-partisan solidarity coming from both sides of the aisle, are beginning to give way to action – though not the kind of action we all expected.
Rather than address the loopholes in our nation’s gun laws, or debate the polarization of our politics and the vitriol in our discourse, the first order of business for members of Congress in the wake of Wednesday’s tragedy appears to be how they can get their hands on more tax payer funds to increase their own security.
“Lawmakers are pushing to be allowed to use taxpayer funds to boost security at their personal homes and during events in their districts,” according to a Washington Post report today. “House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) acknowledged the issue had been raised but said it has not been settled. ‘That’s an issue we have been looking at,'” he told the Post.
Democrats have not come out against the plan outright, but are pushing a more modest version of it that they can support. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) told the Post, “There are discussions about perhaps — at least when a large crowd of lawmakers would be gathered, at a practice, at a congressional picnic, those sorts of things — that even if leadership was not there, that there might be some police present.”
Gun violence has grown to epidemic proportions in cities like Chicago, and mass shootings, whether executed by White supremacists, or Islamic extremists, or deranged individuals, have become tragically frequent. It is shocking that the Republican controlled Congress has the gaul to tend to their own safety so soon after after a shooting where its members were victimized – and with tax payer funds at that – while meeting similar incidents that victimize average Americans almost every year with legislative silence.
The request for more security is understandable and prudent. The timing is unconscionable.