Congress mulls clear protective shield to guard against attacks

In an effort to prevent sudden terrorist attacks, including biological or chemical attacks, on legislators and staff, House officials in Washington, D.C., may place a clear protective shield around viewing galleries above the chamber floor.  

“If I was a terrorist and I wanted to get this place, I wouldn’t need a nuclear weapon,” Rep. Dan Burton (R-Ind) told The Hill. He has proposed installing the shield for the past 20 years. 

“All I would have to do is put on plastic explosives and come out here when we had a major vote and jump down on the floor and blow myself up.” 

Several members of Congress have said in the past that the shield would taint the public's viewing experience, according to The Hill. 

Burton's proposal could gain momentum on the heels of an an alleged terrorist plot to detonate a car bomb in Times Square last weekend. 

"I think, unfortunately, New York and Washington, D.C., remain targets of people who would do this nation harm,” Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday during a news conference about the alleged plot, The Hill reports. 

If the shield were installed, it would be an addition to U.S. Capitol Police sweeps of the House floor and galleries every morning the chamber is in session. The sweeps look for explosive materials that could have been smuggled through the metal detectors in stages.