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Old 01-26-2011, 10:00 AM   #2130
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Rep. Proposes Enclosing Congress Within Plexiglas Bubble

Posted by JacobSloan on January 12, 2011

United-States-CongressNo, it’s not an Onion headline. Indiana Republican Dan Burton wants to encase the House of Representatives within impenetrable Plexiglas for protection from the outside world. CBS News writes:

An aide to Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind.) tells CBS News that the Indiana Republican plans to introduce legislation next week that would encase the House Gallery in “a transparent and substantial material” such as Plexiglas that would keep members of the public from being able to throw explosives or make other attacks on members on the House floor.

Burton has introduced similar legislation in the past. It reads in part, “The Architect of the Capitol shall enclose the visitors’ galleries of the House of Representatives with a transparent and substantial material, and shall install equipment so that the proceedings on the floor of the House of Representatives will be clearly audible in the galleries.”

A past version of the legislation, which will be reintroduced in the wake of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, references past attacks on Congress. Among them are a 1915 bombing by a man protesting U.S. involvement in World War 1, the shooting of five members of Congress by Puerto Rican nationalists during a House vote in 1954, and a the placing of a bomb by the Weather Underground in a Senate bathroom in 1971. (The bomb went off early and no one was hurt.)

Burton is not the only lawmakers pressing for extra security precautions in the wake of the Giffords shooting. Democratic Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. of Illinois announced today that he is pushing to have members’ office budgets increased to cover additional security measures. The new GOP House cut members’ budgets by five percent last week. Jackson says that cut should be reversed and another ten percent should be added to budgets to cover installing cameras at district offices, hiring security guards and other measures.
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