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House approves fines of up to $10,000 for lawmakers who evade metal detectors

Nancy Pelosi called it “beyond comprehension" that some Republican lawmakers had refused to comply with security measures.
Image: A metal detector stands outside of the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol.
A metal detector stands outside of the House chamber at the U.S. Capitol.Sarah Silbiger / Getty Images

WASHINGTON — The House on Tuesday night adopted a rule to impose fines on lawmakers who flout new security measures requiring they pass through security screening, including metal detectors, to enter the House floor.

Under the measure, lawmakers that refuse to comply would be fined $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for a second offense.

The new rule comes in the wake of the Jan. 6 assault on the Capitol.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement Tuesday that days after the attack, “many House Republicans began disrespecting our heroes by refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our congressional community safe — including by dodging metal detectors, physically pushing past police, and even attempting to bring firearms into the chamber.”

“It is beyond comprehension why any member would refuse to adhere to these simple, commonsense steps to keep this body safe,” Pelosi said.

Under the rule, members would be able to appeal a fine before the House Ethics Committee. If a member fails to pay the fine after a 90-day period, the amount would be deducted from his or her pay check. Lawmakers cannot use campaign funds or official funds to pay the fines.

Since the metal detectors were installed outside the House floor, a number of Republicans have protested and bypassed them, with some arguing that the screenings violate their constitutional rights.

Freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., said last month on Twitter, "I am legally permitted to carry my firearm in Washington, D.C. and within the Capitol complex. Metal detectors outside of the House would not have stopped the violence we saw last week — it's just another political stunt by Speaker Pelosi."

U.S. Capitol Police also launched an investigation last month into a report that Rep. Andy Harris, R-Md., tried to take a gun onto the House floor.

Harris' office responded to questions about the investigation in a statement saying "the congressman always complies with the House metal detectors and wanding" and that he "has never carried a firearm on the House floor."