The new Republican majority in Congress has decided to remove the metal detectors that outgoing Speaker Nancy Pelosi installed outside the House chamber after the Capitol riot on January 6, according to Rep Lauren Boebert.
“When I arrived in Congress two years ago, Nancy Pelosi put this hunk of garbage outside of the House chambers for members of Congress to go through,” Ms Boebert of Colorado said in a video in front of a metal detector being hauled down on Tuesday. “Today, they are being removed and we are turning Pelosi’s house back into the People’s House.”
Republican members of the chamber chafed against the presence of the metal detectors, meant to keep members safe in the midst of an increase in political violence in the US and fears that Republican members were carrying weapons onto the floor.
On numerous occasions, Republican members of the House like Ms Boebert and Rep Matt Gaetz of Florida attempted to reach the House floor without going through the security checkpoints, in some cases pushing past Capitol police officers to get there.
We’re turning Pelosi’s House back into the People’s House. pic.twitter.com/xsnDw0kt9F
— Rep. Lauren Boebert (@RepBoebert) January 3, 2023
Democrats established fines for not going through the security checkpoints — $5,000 for a first offence, $10,000 for a second offence — and the House Ethics Committee ended up levying fines to six members in 2021 including Reps Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, and Rep Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania.
GOP lawmakers accused Ms Pelosi herself of failing to enter the chamber through a security checkpoint shortly after they were installed.
The conflict over the metal detectors was one of several issues Republicans took with the Democrats’ logistical operation of the House during the last Congress. Republicans also incurred fines for refusing to wear masks on the floor of the House, while police found a gun during a security screening of Rep Andy Harris of Maryland in January of 2021.
Now, though, House leadership is changing. The Republican Party retook control of the House following the November midterm elections, while Ms Pelosi stood down as Democratic leader and has been replaced by Rep Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
It is as of yet unclear who the next speaker will be, with Rep Kevin McCarthy struggling to unite the Republican caucus around his bid.