Washington, DC – Two Republican lawmakers have been fined for skipping the new security protocol that includes metal detectors at the entrance to the House chamber in the U.S. Capitol building, but it turns out that the new rules spearheaded by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) may not apply to her.
Pelosi ordered the magnetometers installed after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, FOX News reported.
In the past, members of Congress have been excused from passing through metal detectors at the main entrances to the Capitol building.
The new metal detectors were installed on Jan. 12 at select entrances to the House chamber, The Hill reported.
Acting House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett wrote in a notice announcing the installation that “failure to complete screening or the carrying of prohibited items could result in denial of access to the Chamber.”
Numerous Republican lawmakers called the metal detectors unnecessary and many of them skipped going through them, according to The Hill.
Some questioned the motives behind the metal detectors and said the security measure at the entrance to the House chamber was done to prevent some GOP lawmakers from casting their votes.
Pelosi has repeatedly inferred that members could be in danger from some of their colleagues in Congress and is pushing supplemental appropriations legislation that would hand House members more money to pay for their personal security.
“I do believe – and I have said this all along – that we will probably need a supplemental for more security for members when the enemy is within the House of Representatives, a threat that members are concerned about in addition to what is happening outside,” she said, according to Roll Call.
Pelosi was asked to explain what she meant when she said “the enemy is within.”
“It means that we have members of Congress who want to bring guns on the floor and have threatened violence on other members of Congress,” the speaker of the House explained.
So when some GOP members of Congress continued to bypass the metal detectors at the chamber entrance, Pelosi wanted consequences.
On Feb. 2, the House voted to penalize lawmakers who bypassed the metal detectors and other new security screening measures, The Washington Post reported.
Members passed a measure to fine violators $5,000 for the first offense, and $10,000 for every additional offense.
All of the Republican members of the House voted against the measure, The Washington Post reported.
The House has the right to garnish a member’s salary if the fine isn’t paid in a timely manner, and they’re not allowed to pay it with campaign funds or their Congressional member allowance, FOX News reported.
U.S. Representatives Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) and Andrew Clyde (R-Georgia) were the first lawmakers cited – and fined – for breaking the new rule and ducking security.
But another group of GOP House members quickly took umbrage to how the rules were being applied after Pelosi was caught skipping the security checkpoint, FOX News reported.
“We expect rules to be implemented fairly,” U.S. Representative Rodney Davis (R-Illinois) said.
Davis and U.S. Representatives Barry Loudermilk (R-Georgia) and Bryan Steil (R-Wisconsin) sent a letter to Acting House Sergeant at Arms Timothy Blodgett to report that the new rules weren’t being universally enforced, FOX News reported.
“[Thursday], at approximately 9:59 am, multiple members observed the Speaker of the House entering the House Chamber without completing security screening,” the letter read.
“What we observed is a clear violation of House Resolution 73 and you are required by House Rules to impose this fine,” the lawmakers advised. “Please inform us once this fine as been assessed.”
Blodgett replied and pointed the finger at the U.S. Capitol Police (USCP), FOX News reported.
“I have not received any unusual incident report from the USCP concerning the Speaker of the House,” he wrote.
The sergeant at arms told the GOP congressmen that “only the USCP can determine whether an individual has failed to complete security screening,” FOX News reported.
He said he could fine a member “after receiving an unusual occurrence report from the United States Capitol Police.”
Therefore, Pelosi is off the hook in this instance.
The congressmen who were fined for doing the same thing the Speaker got away with have been vocal in their objections to being penalized, FOX News reported.
Clyde said Pelosi was using the metal detectors to drive “the narrative” that “Republicans are the enemy within.”
And he suggested that stopping members to check them for weapons “is unconstitutional” because “every congressman has the right to enter the House floor, unimpeded,” FOX News reported.
Clyde said that under Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution – known as the “The Speech or Debate Clause” – lawmakers were “privileged from Arrest during their attendance at the Session of their Respective Houses, and in going to and from the same; and, for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”
However, the Constitution also allows the House to make its own rules and decide its own punishments and the members voted to impose the new security rules and fines, FOX News reported.