More than half of the 100 U.S. Senators have been issued satellite phones for emergency communication, CBS News reported Monday.
The phones were offered to all the Senators as part of a series of new security measures following the deadly January 6, 2021 insurrection upon the U.S. Capitol. More than 50 have accepted the phones, sources told CBS.
Senate Sergeant at Arms Karen Gibson said the sat phones were being distributed “to ensure a redundant and secure means of communication during a disruptive event.”
Back in 2015, the Department of Homeland Security had issued an advisory stating that satellite phones could be used to “help maintain command and control functions during an emergency when existing communications networks are not functioning.”
Federal funding will pay for the satellite airtime, should the phones’ services be needed.
In testimony before the Senate Appropriations Committee last month, Gibson called maintaining security systems in good working order a priority.
In April, House Sergeant at Arms William McFarland further told members of Congress that House administrators were coordinating with local police to better secure their home residences.
A 2022 spending bill provided additional funds for hometown security measures for Congress, after Paul Pelosi, the husband of then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), suffered a fractured skull after being attacked with a hammer by an intruder at the couples’ California home.