NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!
Twenty-two of the 27 House Democrats who voted against a bill Tuesday to expand security protections for the Supreme Court voted to increase their own security in 2021 following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
The House passed a bill Tuesday to increase security for Supreme Court justices’ immediate families, with 27 Democrats voting against the measure, less than a week after a man was arrested for allegedly plotting to kill Justice Brett Kavanaugh.
The bill that’s now headed to President Biden’s desk for final approval provides for 24-hour protection for Supreme Court justices’ families, similar to what is already provided for some members of the executive and legislative branches.
The House voted 396-27, approving the measure that had already been passed by unanimous consent in the Senate in May just days after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion suggested it intends to overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Democrats who opposed the Supreme Court Police Parity Act argued that it also needed to include protection for court staff, including clerks, and their families, as well as all federal judges.
Many of the same Democrats who voted “nay” on the bill voted “yea” last May on an expanded budget of $1.9 billion for extra Capitol security following the Jan. 6 riot. That measure, which narrowly passed the House without a single Republican vote, included millions of dollars in funding for increased security for federal judges and Congress members, including in their district offices throughout the U.S., as well as travel security for Congress members.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash., and Rep. Veronica Escobar, D-Texas, who both voted against Tuesday’s bill, were among a group of Democrats who sent a letter to Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the weeks following the Jan. 6 Capitol riot demanding an increase to their Members’ Representational Allowances, or MRAs, to pay for personal security in their home districts by hiring local law enforcement and other personnel.
At the time, Pelosi argued that Congress members shouldn’t have to dip into their MRAs for security and that an appropriations supplemental bill would be necessary. Months later, Jayapal, Escobar and 20 more Democrats who voted against Tuesday’s bill voted in favor of the Emergency Security Supplemental Appropriations Act to increase their own security.
When reached by Fox News Digital inquiring why they voted for one bill and not the other, multiple New Jersey Democrats pointed to a press release Tuesday that said that while they support added security for justices, the bill didn’t go far enough.
“We fully support expanding security for Supreme Court Justices and their families. We also firmly believe that those expanded protections should apply to federal judges and their families, who face similar threats, with less protective resources,” read the joint press release by New Jersey Democratic Reps. Mikie Sherrill, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Albio Sires, Bill Pascrell, Tom Malinowski, and Josh Gottheimer.
“On July 19, 2020, a man who had appeared before Judge Esther Salas in her court came to her door dressed as a FedEx delivery man. He found her address with an easy online search. Her only child, 20-year-old Daniel, answered the door of her home and was shot 3 times and killed. Her husband was shot and is still recovering,” they wrote. “We believe that Congress had a strong opportunity to improve protections for all federal judges, but the Senate abdicated its responsibility when it ignored our calls for the inclusion of the Daniel Anderl Judicial Security and Privacy Act in this bill. We will not give up fighting for the necessary safeguards our federal judiciary deserves.”
Rep. Donald Payne, a New Jersey Democrat who also voted against Tuesday’s bill, was not included in his colleagues’ press release. His office did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s request for comment.
Rep. Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., who voted for increased congressional security last year but against Tuesday’s bill, explained his no vote in a statement to Fox News Digital.
“Supreme Court Justices are in the limelight as are Members of Congress and federal judges,” he said. “These individuals, along with their families and staff members, regularly face threats of violence to themselves, their homes, their place of work, or in other public settings. While it is unfortunate any public official requires more security as they carry out their responsibilities and provide service to the public, we need to ensure adequate protections are provided for public officials – as well as family and staff members – who could be in harm’s way.”
The offices of Jayapal and Escobar did not immediately respond to Fox News Digital’s requests for comment.
Escobar told NBC News she voted against the Supreme Court bill because she wants added protection for abortion providers and “patients and staff who are vulnerable everyday especially because of the actions of this Supreme Court.”
Inquiries sent to the remaining 12 Democrats who voted against Tuesday’s bill were not immediately returned. They include Rep. Sylvia Garcia, D-Texas, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif. Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Ill., Rep. Joyce Beatty, D-Ohio, Rep. Adriano Espaillat, D-N.Y., Rep. Raúl Grijalva, D-Ariz., Rep. Steven Horsford, D-Nev., Rep. Brenda Lawrence, D-Mich., Rep. Marie Newman, D-Ill., Rep. Norma Torres, D-Calif., Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., and Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif.
Grijalva told The Arizona Republic that he voted against the legislation because it excluded protections for Supreme Court staffers.
“I am concerned at the speed which Republicans are willing to act to protect the Supreme Court, but not the lives of children from gun violence,” Grijalva told the outlet. “The Supreme Court justices would continue to have federal protection without this legislation. I voted against the Senate version of the bill because it did not go far enough to extend protections to Supreme Court justice employees and the rest of federal bench.”