New metal detectors anger House Republicans
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objects to installing metal detectors at the doors of the House floor.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Wednesday said the chamber plans to adopt new rules charging members fines for refusing to go through newly installed metal detectors in the U.S. Capitol or refusing to comply with security following last week’s deadly assault.
The fines — $5,000 for a first-time offense and $10,000 for a second one – will go into effect when the House returns to session on Jan. 21 and will be taken out of members’ pay, a news release from the speaker’s office said.
Pelosi in a statement said she expressed her “deepest gratitude to the U.S. Capitol Police for the valor that they showed” during the pro-Trump riot and claimed some Republicans “disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions,” when they refused to go through the metal detectors.
She added the new security changes are necessary to keep those work in the Capitol, including the Capitol police, safe.
Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., an ally of President Donald Trump, passes through a metal detector before entering the House chamber, a new security measure put into place after a mob stormed the Capitol, in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
The speaker said it was “tragic that this step is necessary.”
Several Republicans refused to comply with the procedure this week, while others complained to Capitol security and House Democrats that the security measures were instituted without adequate notice or consultation.
In one heated encounter, House Administration Ranking Member Rodney Davis, R-Ill., exchanged harsh words with Capitol Police as well as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md.
Davis grew angry after security barred access to a staircase near the speaker’s lobby that is typically open to members.
“Steny, this is bulls—,” Davis said.
“Rodney, we’re all going through the magnetometers. All of us,” Hoyer said in response as Davis argued with the officer.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Tx., was one of the House Republicans who chose not to pass through the metal detectors.
“The metal detector policy for the House floor is unnecessary, unconstitutional, and endangers members,” Roy said in a statement on the incident. “I did not comply tonight. I will not comply in the future.”
Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., who campaigned on her commitment to the Second Amendment and has advocated for her right to be armed at the Capitol, refused to turn over her purse when it set off the metal detector. She was eventually allowed in the House chamber.
“We were not in need of more metal detectors when we were locked in the Chambers on the 6th,” she wrote on Twitter later.
Democrats blasted Republicans over their defiance.
“Do these people not understand that literally everyone else has to go through metal detectors to get in here?” Rep. Don Beyer, D-Va., tweeted. “Average people do not get to bring guns into the United States Capitol in normal times. Get over yourselves.”
In a tweet directed to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., wrote that everyone will be required to go through metal detectors at Biden’s inauguration, “including GOP Members who believe they don’t have to listen to law enforcement. Will you commit that the Members of your caucus will go through metal detectors at Inauguration?”
Timothy P. Blodgett, the House’s acting sergeant at arms, told members in a memo Tuesday they would newly be required to go through the metal detectors.
House Democrats also imposed a new rule Tuesday, fining members $500 for not wearing a mask on the House floor.
Fox News’ Thomas Barrabi contributed to this report.
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