House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday announced severe fines for House members who evade metal detectors set up in the wake of last week’s brutal assault on the U.S. Capitol after multiple Republican lawmakers scoffed at the new security precaution.
Pelosi, in a statement, alleged House Republicans have “disrespected our heroes by verbally abusing them” and are “refusing to adhere to basic precautions keeping members of our Congressional community, including the Capitol Police, safe.”
She announced that members will be fined $5,000 the first time they evade the metal detectors and $10,000 for the second offense, with the sums being “deducted directly from Members’ salaries by the Chief Administrative Officer.”
“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the Chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe,” Pelosi concluded.
HuffPost reporter Matt Fuller documented at least a dozen cases of Republican lawmakers going around the detectors or continuing apace after setting them off on Tuesday, including Reps. Ralph Norman (R-S.C.) and Scott Perry (R-Pa.).
GOP scorn for the security measure continued on Tuesday, according to Fuller: Reps. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.), Garret Graves (R-La.), Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.), Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and a half dozen other lawmakers breezing past them.
“She’s very, very concerned, as she should be, and I think she’s acting appropriately,” Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio), the chair of the House Appropriations subcommittee that funds the Capitol Police, said of Pelosi’s measure in a press briefing on Wednesday.
Washington, D.C. is on heightened alert after the Capitol attack, in which a mob of Trump supporters charged Capitol Police and stormed the building, resulting in five deaths and widespread theft and property damage. An Illinois man was arrested Tuesday for leaving threatening messages for multiple House members, one of which was a threat to shoot up the inauguration.
“Russ Fulcher was the most aggressive member pushing through the metal detectors last night. A female officer kind of got in his way—I think inadvertently—and he really was…assertive,” tweeted Fuller. “The cop didn’t want to talk, but she almost seemed on the verge of tears after.”
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) argued that the fines are a violation of the 27th Amendment to the constitution, which states: “No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of Representatives shall have intervened.”