U.S. Rep. Dan Newhouse said he and other lawmakers will be discussing ways to improve security at public events after a high-ranking congressman was wounded in an attack Wednesday.
But the 4th District Republican said stepped-up security for congressional members must be balanced against the need to meet with those they represent.
“I don’t know how you can accomplish this job without the personal interaction,” Newhouse said in a phone interview from his Washington, D.C., office. “It would be a shame if an incident like this affects people’s ability to meet.”
Newhouse was not at the Alexandria, Va., ballfield where a number of Republican Congress members were practicing for a traditional charity baseball game Thursday against their Democratic colleagues. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was critically wounded in the attack, as were two U.S. Capitol Police officers assigned to his security detail and a House staff member.
Newhouse said there will be discussions about improving security both for lawmakers and their constituents at public events.
“When one of my constituents comes to see me, I don’t want them to feel they’re putting themselves in danger just because they’re next to me,” Newhouse said. “That is not conducive at all to good personal relationships.”
Like most members of Congress, Newhouse does not have a personal security detail and doesn’t foresee himself getting one. When he conducts town hall meetings, he has used local police to provide a basic level of security.
At recent town hall meetings, his staff required people to show they lived in the district. The checks came at a time members of Congress were being confronted at town hall meetings over President Donald Trump’s plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
Newhouse said the ID check was to ensure that his constituents would not be crowded out of meeting halls by protesters, but he said it also provided a measure of security.