Pelosi says lawmakers who refuse to go through metal detectors at Capitol should be fined $5,000

Gino Spocchia
<p>House speaker Nancy Pelosi</p> (AFP)

House speaker Nancy Pelosi


Speaker Nancy Pelosi has proposed penalising House members who bypass new security protections introduced since last week’s assault on the Capitol.

She announced on Wednesday that the House would be subject to the rule when they return to session on 21 January, when members are due to vote on the rule change.

Anyone who bypasses House security, which includes newly installed metal detectors on the House chamber doors, would be fined.

That would be $5,000 (£3,662) for the first offense and $10,000 (£7326) for the second. Both would be deducted from lawmakers' salaries.

“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe," said the House speaker in a statement.

On Tuesday, Ms Pelosi also moved to penalise lawmakers who refused to wear face masks in the House chamber, announcing financial penalties at $500 (£367) for the first offense and $2,500 (£1,833) for the second, as reported by Politico.

The rules announced by Ms Pelosi, who was reelected to lead the House by members last week, come as concerns are raised at Republican lawmakers’ conduct in recent days.

Some have refused to wear face masks, while several House Republicans have avoided security protocols introduced since last week’s attack on the Capitol.

According to Matt Fuller, a reporter for the Huffington Post who watched the Republican lawmakers attempt to bypass House security on Wednesday, “about 10 Republicans walk[ed] around the magnetometer.”

“Didn’t see them all, but among the group was Ralph Northham and Scott Perry,” he added. “Jeff Duncan bypassed the metal detector right before them.”

While Lauren Boebert, who has been vocal about carrying a gun around the Capitol, was said to have triggered a metal detector on Tuesday, days after Trump supporters stormed Congress with weapons to contest the election result.

The Hill reported that she refused to hand her bag over to police to inspect, while another House Republican, Steve Womack, shouted at police to "get back" and "don't touch me.”

On Wednesday night, the one-term president became the first to be impeached twice by the House, having been accused of the “incitement of insurrection” before last week’s assault on Congress by his supporters, who wrongly alleged the 2020 election was “stolen” or “rigged”.

Ten Republicans in the House voted in support of impeachment, while most voted against the move, which will now lead to a trial in the Senate.

A Capitol Police officer was among five people who died in last week’s attack, while another officer allegedly died by suicide days afterwards, amid criticism at the force’s actions.

Two Capitol Police officers have been suspended since, with investigations still ongoing into alleged support for the Trump mob.

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