House Republicans Hate Selfies

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So much so, that they’ve proposed a rule that would allow the Sergeant at Arms of the House to impose up to a $2,500 fine for taking video or pictures with a phone on the House floor.

House Speaker Paul Ryan has proposed new fines and ethics violations for taking photos or video from the floor of the chamber, a response to a 25-hour sit-in that Democrats streamed live over Facebook and Periscope in June.

According to Bloomberg, which first reported the proposed penalties, the first violation would be met with a $500 fine, docked from a member’s paycheck. Subsequent violations would draw fines of $2,500 each. And conduct deemed disorderly or disruptive, including attempts to block the well at the front of the chamber, could be referred to the Committee on Ethics, potentially leading to sanctions.

What prompted this hissy fit of Luddite madness?

During the June sit-in, dozens of members occupied the front of the House chamber and nearly 170 of the Democratic caucus’ 188 members spoke over the course of 25 hours. After members, led by civil rights icon John Lewis, D-Ga., crowded the well, the Republican presiding over the session called for order and then gaveled the session in recess, ending the C-SPAN live feed of the session. In response, several members began broadcasting the hours of speeches via social media.

Poor, sad Republicans. They hate everything. Except tax cuts, bigotry, and misogyny. Oh, and a big heaping dollop of hypocrisy. They like that, too. 

One other problem that’s been noted: the rules are almost assuredly unconstitutional, because only the whole House of Representatives has the authority to sanction member behavior on the House floor. Today, about to be sworn in Congressman Jamie Raskin weighed in with a press release:

I’d expect the vote on this one to be strictly along party lines, and the provision for fines for violations to end up in court immediately upon hr first fine being levied, if not before. The fun is starting on day 1, boys and girls!

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