Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) is reacting to protests on the floor of the House critical of the National Rifle Association and a lack of gun safety legislation by imposing new rules designed to silence dissent.
Ryan and his fellow Republicans are putting in place rules that would prohibit representatives from posting photos from the floor on services like Instagram or from streaming videos on services like Facebook Live or Periscope. Those were the main outlets used by Democrats who staged a sit-in after House Republicans refused to debate or vote on gun safety legislation opposed by the NRA after Ryan cut the official video feed, which is broadcast on C-SPAN.
Ashlee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said in a statement: “These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work.”
A violation of the new rules would result in a fine of up to $2,500 for members, which would be deducted from their congressional salaries.
Rep. Eric Swalwel (D-CA), who was among the leaders of the sit-in, wrote on Twitter: “I’ll always stand w/ victims. Bring. It. On.”