WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) – There were angry groups of people, shouting at law enforcement inside the nation’s capitol on January 13. No, this was not another group of domestic terrorists storming the building. It was the reaction of some lawmakers after a decision was made to require members of Congress to walk through metal detectors.
The new protocols in the wake of last week’s deadly siege, which included metal detectors and physical pat-downs in some instances, has further inflamed tensions on Capitol Hill, at times prompting shouting matches between Republicans and Capitol Police.READ MORE: North Texas Health Departments, Pharmacies Making Plans To Vaccinate Children Against COVID-19
Texas Republican Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-Tyler) and Van Taylor (R-Plano) were among those not complying with police at checkpoints and complaining about the new safety measures.
Members of both parties expressed frustration Tuesday night at the long lines ahead of the entrance to the House floor. Many Republicans view the measure as invasive, but several Democrats called them necessary as they increasingly view their colleagues across the aisle as security threats.
And it’s all contributing to a sense of roiling fury in Congress ahead of a rancorous impeachment vote Wednesday.
Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, a newly sworn-in Republican who ran in large part on a message emphasizing her commitment to Second Amendment rights and has bragged about her desire to carry a weapon on Capitol Hill, got into an altercation with police officers and initially refused to show police what was in her bag Tuesday night. She was eventually allowed into the chamber.
“It is a shame that Nancy Pelosi is trying to disarm Members of Congress in the very place that needed more protection on January 6,” she said in a statement. “It is clear metal detectors would not have deterred the violent acts we saw; this political stunt does nothing to improve the safety of Members in the Capitol complex.”
“This is crap right here. You can put that down,” said Freedom Caucus Chair Rep. Andy Biggs, an Arizona Republican, who called the metal detectors the “stupidest thing” as he walked through them.
Reps. Steve Womack of Arkansas and Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma, both Republicans, erupted at Capitol Police.
“I was physically restrained!” Womack shouted. “It’s my constitutional right!” cried Mullin.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis, also a Republican, told Mullin not to shout at Capitol Police.READ MORE: Dallas ISD To Start New School That Mixes Learning In Classroom And Online
“This is not their fault, they’re doing their job,” Davis said.
But Davis, a top Republican on the House administration committee, said he was “pissed” that the magnetometers have gone up without any consultation. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise called the situation “untenable” because it “impedes the ability of members to come and vote. This is our job.”
Capitol Police eventually waved several lawmakers through without making them go through the magnetometers.
House Democrats, however, have said they are worried about some of their Republican colleagues and that there have been multiple conversations about the need for every member of Congress and their guests to start going through metal detectors. Several worry lawmakers are ignoring House rules regarding firearms.
Referring to Boebert, freshman Rep. Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina and others, one House Democrat described to the situation as “increasing tensions with certain incoming freshmen for months, who have been insistent on bringing firearms in violation of law and guidelines.”
“There are concerns about the gun-toting members, but also we don’t know who they’re going to bring to the inauguration who can bypass the metal detectors,” another House Democrat said. “Until there’s an investigation and until we understand our colleagues’ level of complicity in the attack, we don’t know how involved they really were. Until we have answers, I don’t think we should trust them — not all of them of course, but some of them.”
That Democrat noted that some of the House Republicans went onto the chamber’s floor after last week’s attack and continued to share debunked conspiracies about the 2020 election. That Democrat added that some refused to wear masks while they were sheltering in place and now at least three Democrats have tested positive for COVID-19.
Some Democrats aren’t happy about the metal detectors, either.
Texas Rep. Filemon Vela, a Democrat, said, “I’m more likely to die of COVID because I got it from a colleague than I am to die because a colleague shoots me.”
(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)MORE NEWS: Fort Worth Mayoral Runoff Candidates Discuss Policy Differences At Forum
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