The House this week will advance a bill to overhaul the U.S. Secret Service, an agency that has been under intense criticism for a series of critical mishaps in recent months, including allowing a fence-jumper to enter the White House, and failing to investigate an incident in which bullets from a handgun were fired directly at the presidential residence.
The House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday plans to mark up the Secret Service Improvements Act, which would, among other things, require the agency to hire no fewer than 200 additional officers and 80 special agents.
Training hours would also increase under the legislation, and the position of Secret Service director would require Senate confirmation, rather than just the nod of the president.
The legislation is bipartisan, with the backing of both Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and ranking member John Conyers, D-Mich., so it's likely to clear the panel.
It would then be ready for floor debate and a vote of the full House.
The bill was drafted in March following a string of White House security breaches and scandals, the most serious involving a knife-wielding man scaling the White House fence, evading agents and running into the East Room. Agents were most recently surprised by a drone landing on the White House lawn.
Trouble for the agency began as far back as 2012, when Secret Service agents on an advance trip to Colombia were found to have brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms.
"The Secret Service should be held to the highest of standards, but unfortunately has fallen short, calling its leadership and ability to carry out its mission into question," Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, Jr., R-Wis., a top member of the Judiciary panel, said. "It is our intent to prevent further embarrassment and reestablish the Secret Service as the world's premier law enforcement agency."