Blumenthal Applauds Passage of Legislation to Improve Protection of President

(Washington, DC) – Today, Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) applauded passage of the S. 1794 Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, a bill that enhances the Secret Service’s ability to protect the President and others by expanding federal criminal law concerning those who trespass into restricted areas.  This legislation is the first of Blumenthal’s to be sent to the President for his signature.

Senator Blumenthal said, “I applaud my House colleagues for passing the Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011, a measure that I introduced in the Senate. This bill will improve the law enforcement tools available to the Secret Service in its attempts to protect the President, the Vice President, and others on a day-to-day basis by closing loopholes in the current federal law. The new law should punish and deal more effectively with anyone who illegally enters restricted areas to threaten the President, Vice President, or other Secret Service protectees. I look forward to President Obama promptly signing this bill into law.”

Existing law prohibits illegal entries to any restricted building or ground where the President, Vice President or other protectee is visiting. However, there is currently no federal law that expressly prohibits unlawful entry to the White House and its grounds or the Vice President's residence and its grounds.

The Federal Restricted Buildings and Grounds Improvement Act of 2011 remedies this problem by including the White House, the Vice President's residence, and their grounds within the definition of restricted buildings and grounds. The bill also clarifies penalties for those who knowingly enter or remain in any restricted building or grounds without lawful authority to do so.