WASHINGTON -- Democratic Whip Rep. Steny Hoyer (Md.) doesn't feel the outburst last week by a stenographer on the House floor makes lawmakers feel like their inner sanctum is any less safe. That's because it is also inhabited by people who traditionally are far more dangerous -- other members of Congress.
"I've been here 33 years. All the other outbursts have come from members," Hoyer told reporters Tuesday when pressed on whether representatives should be concerned that someone in their midst might not have been properly vetted.
"Are you talking about a member? I'm not being facetious," Hoyer said. "You go over to the old Senate chamber and you will see where a House member caned a United States senator."
Indeed, violence by members was fairly common in the earlier days of the Republic. More recently, however, the most notable outbursts have been verbal, such as Rep. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) yelling "You lie!" at President Barack Obama during an address to Congress and Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-N.Y.) hollering "The gentleman will sit!" at fellow New York Rep. Pete King (R).
Hoyer said the rantings of the federal worker, who shouted about God and a "House divided" before being removed form the floor, did not worry members much.
"I don't think that any member was placed in any compromised situation in terms of their security or safety," Hoyer said.
"I think she had some type of a breakdown. I hope that was temporary in nature. But she is a delightful human being, and I don't think there was any danger posed to anybody on the floor," Hoyer said.
The woman, Dianne Reidy, has been placed on administrative leave.