"I think this lady has to go," Rep. Elijah Cummings, the House Oversight Committee's ranking Democrat told NewsOneNow radio host Roland Martin. "There has to be drastic changes."
“If Mr. Cummings thinks that she should go, I subscribe to his recommendation,” added House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.
"The president must make a swift determination on whether the agency is being well-served by its current leadership," House Speaker John Boehner chimed in.
After a dismal performance before the Oversight Committee on Tuesday, the chorus of lawmakers calling for Secret Service director Julia Pierson to step down grew louder and louder. Wednesday afternoon, the embattled agency chief, whose primary task was to keep President Obama and his family safe, submitted her resignation to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson.
Pierson had been called to testify before the committee following shocking revelations about security breaches, including an armed man with mental health issues unlawfully entering the White House and an elevator ride the president unwittingly took with an armed ex-convict while visiting the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta last month.
Although the White House said it had full confidence in the Secret Service, spokesman Josh Ernest told reporters Wednesday that the president felt it was in the agency's best interest for Pierson to step down. James Clancy, a former special agent who retired in 2011, will take over as acting director.
Cummings also believes the resignation is a crucial first step in repairing the Secret Service, which has been plagued in recent years by scandals and security lapses that lawmakers say put the president's life in grave danger.
“As I told Ms. Pierson in our phone call earlier today, we appreciate her 30 years of service to our nation, to the Secret Service and to multiple presidents. I absolutely respect her decision, and now we have to ensure that we focus on the difficult work of fully restoring the Secret Service to its rightful status as the most elite protective service in the world," the Maryland lawmaker said in a statement.
Pierson's departure has not negated calls by the White House and congressional lawmakers for an independent review of the agency's systemic challenges and culture and security at the White House.
Follow Joyce Jones on Twitter: @BETpolitichick.
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(Photo: J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo)
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