House GOP Proposes Fines For Livestreaming After Gun Control Sit-In

AP

Months after Democrats staged a sit-in on the House floor to call for votes on gun control measures, House Republicans are considering new rules for the House floor and fines for streaming video from the chamber, according to reports from Bloomberg News and Fox News.

Democrats in June sat on the floor of the House chamber to protest Republican inaction on measures to expand background checks and keep certain people from purchasing firearms. They held the sit-in for more than 24 hours, forcing the House to adjourn early. The Democrats used social media to stream video from the House floor while Congress was adjourned, which is not allowed.

Some top Republicans had pushed for an investigation after the sit-in, arguing that House Democrats broke the chamber's rules.

The new proposal from House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) would hit members with a $500 fine for their first offense of taking electronic photos or recording video on the House floor and $2,500 for any additional offenses, according to Bloomberg and Fox News. The proposal would also ban members from blocking each other from the microphones at the front of the House chamber. That offense would result in a referral to the Committee on Ethics.

"These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work," Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told Fox News in a Monday statement.

One House Democrat who participated in the June sit-in, Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA), dismissed to the proposal, saying that fines would not prevent members from speaking up.

In a Tuesday morning statement, a spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) blasted House Republicans' proposal and said that the rules changes would not stop Democrats from speaking out on gun control.

“Sadly, the first action of the new Congress will be the passage of rules changes targeting Democratic Members who participated in the 25-hour sit-in following the horrific Pulse shooting in Orlando that killed 49 and wounded more than 50,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said in the statement. “House Republicans continue to act as the handmaidens of the gun lobby refusing to pass sensible, bipartisan legislation to expand background checks and keep guns out of the hands of terrorists.”

“Speaker Ryan can continue to shamefully ignore the calls for action from the American people but House Democrats will never stop speaking out against the daily tragedy of gun violence in this country,” he added.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlin MacNeal is a News Writer based in Washington, D.C. Before joining TPM, Caitlin interned and wrote for the Huffington Post, the Sunlight Foundation and Slate. She is a graduate of Georgetown University.
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