House Republicans added a key concession to a rule that will allow Democrats to appeal punishments for taking pictures or video on the House floor, after planning for months to retaliate over a Democratic protest on gun control.
The proposed rule change originally called for the House Sergeant at Arms to formally fine lawmakers $2,500 if they took a video or picture of actions on the floor of Congress’ lower chamber. House Democrats took pictures of their July sit-in, and used the images in fundraising and campaigning materials against Republican challengers nationwide.
Leadership later added a change that allows punished lawmakers to appeal the decision to the House Committee on Ethics, an oversight body that includes five Democrats and five Republicans.
“The speaker told the conference he supported the amendment, which will allow the enforcement mechanism to remain to ensure the House can do its work, while also adding a due process mechanism that would allow members to appeal the decision after being fined,” Ryan spokeswoman AshLee Strong told Politico Monday.
Democrats including House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi fought back against the rule change, calling the measure a “power grab” in a statement Thursday.
“While the American people worry for the financial security of their families, Republicans are opening the new Congress by turning their backs on the outside calls for help with an inside power grab in the House Rules,” Pelosi responded in a letter to constituents.
Democratic Reps. John Lewis and John Larson also vowed to fight the rule change, calling the measure a “gag rule” aimed to achieve Democratic silence on the floor of the House.
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