As a sitting congressman, I have the right to enter the House floor unimpeded. This right is clearly written into the Constitution under Article 1, Section 6 because members of Congress are voting on behalf of their constituents. I cast my district’s vote, so it’s not about me.
Searching my person as a condition of entry into the House floor effectively impedes me from undertaking my legislative responsibility and blocks the right of more than 700,000 citizens to have their voices heard in their legislature. It is not only my vote that suffers from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s policy of intimidation, it is the vote of honest, hard-working, patriotic Georgians of the 9th district.
With the placement of metal detectors outside the House Floor entrance, the Democratic majority is attempting to drive the narrative that Republicans are a threat. Nancy Pelosi’s own words set the stage when she declared, “the enemy is within.” But this is completely false.
I spent 28 years as a Navy officer, including three overseas combat deployments, fighting to defend the constitutional rights of all American citizens. I was also on the House floor during the difficult events of Jan. 6 and remained behind with a few other Republicans to assist the Sergeant at Arms and Capitol Police Officers in barricading the main entrance when rioters attempted to breach it. This action helped ensure the House remained secure. The idea that I or any of my congressional colleagues are a threat is a complete insult.
Democrats and the radical Left continue to try to silence Republicans through fear and intimidation. In addition to this action, they are calling for new domestic terrorism laws and a political litmus test for citizens to serve in positions of authority like the armed forces, law enforcement, public servants at every level and even elected officials — a litmus test that no doubt would ultimately be used as a political weapon.
With the greatest of respect I have repeatedly refused to be searched by the magnetometers or be spread eagle searched with a hand wand on my way to vote, and I will probably continue to do so as long as they continue to impede my ability to enter the House floor and thereby violate the Constitution. It is my understanding that I will now be fined $10,000 each time I do not submit to a physical search and the money will be directly deducted from my salary.
The speaker can continue to fine me until my salary is depleted. I came to Congress to represent my constituents and defend the Constitution, not for financial gain. The great hypocrisy here is that Speaker Pelosi broke her own rule on Thursday, Feb. 4 and has yet to be fined. Perhaps in the mind of the speaker the rule is “fines for thee, but not for me.” I suppose we should not be surprised, as this kind of double standard has existed against Republicans for years.
The Democratic majority is engaging in a reprehensible abuse of government power, and I will not stand for it. I have been down this road of government overreach before when the IRS attempted to unlawfully seize nearly $1 million from my firearms business several years ago. I took them to court, and we won. I then pressed the fight in Congress and, through the legislative process, got a bill passed that stripped the IRS of the authority to seize legally earned money through Civil Asset Forfeiture. President Trump signed that bill into law on July 1, 2019 as part of the Taxpayer First Act. I did not give in then, and I will not give in now.
Andrew Clyde represents Georgia’s 9th congressional district in the House of Representatives.