House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Wednesday that lawmakers who refuse to pass through metal detectors before entering the chamber would face hefty fines. In a statement, Pelosi confirmed the House is moving forward with a new rule to impose fines, with a vote scheduled to occur upon their return to Capitol Hill on Jan. 21.
Calling it a "tragic" but "necessary" step, Pelosi said that lawmakers who bypass new security measures face a $5,000 fine for a first offense and a $10,000 fine for a second under the new mandate. These fines will be deducted from the offending representative's pay by the Chief Administrative Officer. In announcing the new rule, Pelosi said, "the Chamber of the People's House must and will be safe."
"On behalf of the House, I express my deepest gratitude to the U.S. Capitol Police for the valor that they showed during the deadly insurrection on the Capitol, as they protected the lives of the staff and the Congress," Pelosi said when announcing the mandate. "Sadly, just days later, many House Republicans have disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them and refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our Congressional community, including the Capitol Police, safe."
The move comes after several GOP lawmakers sidestepped the metal detectors after they were installed in the wake of the deadly Capitol riot on Jan. 6. In a memo to lawmakers and staff, House Sergeant-at-Arms Timothy Blodgett announced all members would be required to undergo security screening, effective immediately, "to ensure compliance with Capitol Police Board regulations concerning firearms and incendiary devices, as well as to provide a safe and secure environment in which to conduct legislative business." The Hill reported that before this, Congress members were typically given a pass on going through security in the Capitol complex if they show their lawmaker pins.
Despite the new security measures, several GOP lawmakers pushed past Capitol Police and sergeant-at-arms staff into the chamber, including freshman Rep. Lauren Boebert. Boebert, who has inquired about carrying firearms into the U.S. Capitol, refused to turn over her bag to the police for inspection after setting off a metal detector Tuesday night. Meanwhile, Rep. Steve Womack reportedly shouted at police to "get back" and "don't touch me." In response to this, the Daily Mail reports Pelosi asked police, "can we move this closer to the door so they can't get through?" Capitol Police officers later added tables on the device's sides to block people from walking around the metal detectors.