Pelosi also informed her colleagues about security at the Capitol, informing them that “General Russel Honoré is preparing his assessment of the security of the campus, and we expect to have updates soon.” She also reminded them that when they return, they’ll vote on a rule change to impose fines on any member trying to bypass the metal detectors to get to the House chamber. The issue escalated this week when Rep. Andy Harris, a Maryland Republican, tried to bring a concealed gun onto the House floor, which is a violation of House rules. A number of Republicans have blown off the detectors and disrespected Capitol Police trying to enforce the new protocols.
“It is sad that this step is necessary,” Pelosi wrote of the fines, “but the disrespectful and dangerous refusal of some Republican Members to adhere to basic safety precautions for our Congressional Community—including our Capitol Police—is unacceptable.” Any House member will face a $5,000 fine if they refuse to cooperate with the screening. If they do it again, they’ll pay a $10,000 fine. That money will be withheld from their paychecks—they can’t use campaign funds or their expense accounts to pay them. The precedent for this new rule is the mask rule passed last week, which fines members not wearing masks on the floor—$500 on a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.
Pelosi ends her missive on a hopeful note. “I am confident that, strengthened by the new Biden-Harris Administration and Senate Democratic Majority, we can restore healing, unity and optimism to our nation, so that—as Joe Biden quotes Seamus Heaney—’The longed for tidal wave of justice can rise up, and hope and history can rhyme.'”