In response to the 25 hour long sit-in staged by House Democrats in June in an attempt to force a vote on gun control, House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed fines and ethics violations for live-sreaming and taking photos from the floor of the chamber, U.S. News reports.
In Ryan’s proposed changes, “the the first violation would be met with a $500 fine, docked from a member’s paycheck. Subsequent violations would draw fines of $2,500 each.” Any “disorderly or disruptive” conduct could be referred to the Committee on Ethics.
Never mind that taking photos and video from the House floor is already not allowed – when that rule is broken, no one is ever fined. Never mind that you can watch C-SPAN for a live feed of House and Senate sessions. When the dozens of Democrats, led by the unflappable John Lewis of Georgia, sat down in protest over a vote on the very important issue of gun control, Ryan ordered the C-SPAN cameras to be turned off, leaving the members in protest to broadcast live on Facebook and on Periscope.
The beauty of the C-SPAN live feed is the transparency it allows for anyone with the access and the interest to see the inner workings of our government up close. It’s essential to see both the good and the bad; Republicans clearly viewed the sit-in as a breakdown of the democratic process, but it was very obviously the opposite.
In response to the rules package proposed by Ryan, a spokesperson for House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi called Ryan and House Republicans “handmaidens of the gun lobby,” accusing Republicans of serving as surrogates for the National Rifle Association’s interests instead of the people they have been elected to serve.
These rules are up for debate and a vote when Congress resumes on January 3.