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Controlled House Seeks to Quell Floor 'Disruptions' With Fines and Penalties

28 December 2016

Their efforts couldn't force legislation on gun control, but don't worry; the House is willing to take up the larger and more risky issue of those damn live streams.

A package of rules to be brought up for a vote Tuesday, the first day of the 115th Congress, would fine lawmakers for using electronic devices to transmit from the House chambers.

The speaker said the Democrats' proposals flouted the Constitution, and that he didn't want to reward their "publicity stunt", anyway.

Democrats commandeered the House floor for almost 26 hours in June in the aftermath of the shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, Fla. that killed 49 people and wounded more than 50 others. The fine would increase to $2,500 for any subsequent violations.

Republicans criticized the move bitterly, including some calling for sanctions against those participating in the protest - especially Rep. Scott Peters, who used his smartphone to put the protest on Periscope, which C-SPAN eventually broadcast on television.

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A spokesman for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats won't back down from calling for action on gun control measures in response to mass shootings like the one at Pulse. The sit-in was well into its 10th hour, with Democrats camped out on the floor stopping legislative business in the House, when Ryan stepped to the podium to gavel the House into session and hold votes on routine business.

The House will vote on the package on January 3.

"These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people's work", Ashlee Strong, a spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, told NBC News on Monday. "House Republicans continue to act as the handmaidens of the gun lobby refusing to pass sensible, bipartisan legislation to expand background checks and keep guns out of the hands of terrorists".

Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-California), who live-streamed the gun violence sit-in in August, responded to the proposed rule changes on Twitter. The proposed rules also say a lawmaker who engages in "disorderly or disruptive" conduct could be subject to an ethics committee investigation for such actions.

Controlled House Seeks to Quell Floor 'Disruptions' With Fines and Penalties