Dems Take Photos on House Floor, a Violation of Rules

WASHINGTON (CQ-Roll Call/TNS) -

Several House Democrats took pictures on the House floor as the chamber held a quorum call to kick off the 115th Congress — a violation of House rules that Republicans want to start punishing with a fine of up to $2,500.

Roll Call spotted Democrats who appeared to be taking photos in protest to the proposed fine. However, the photos were snapped during the brief period of the start of a new Congress where the House has no rules, since they have not yet adopted a new package and the previous rules expired at the end of the 114th Congress.

Taking photos or recording video on the House floor has been a longstanding violation of House rules, but the fine is something new that Republicans are proposing this year as a delayed reaction to Democrats’ June sit-in on the House floor protesting gun violence. During the sit-in, Democrats used their cell phones to record video of their speeches and chants and took photos of themselves and their colleagues after Republicans turned off the CSPAN cameras that provide live access to the floor.

Some of the Democrats who took protest photos Tuesday shared them on social media.

Rep. Jackie Speier of California tweeted a photo of a mostly empty chairs on the Republican side of the aisle, saying, “@HouseGOP in disarray not on the floor for quorum call!” At the time she took the photo, House Republicans were meeting in the basement of the Capitol, voting about the Office of Congressional Ethics.