House Republicans Move to Block Live Streaming, Photos From Floor of Congress

Rep. Elijah Cummings

House Republicans have proposed new rules that would make it harder and costlier for members to live stream or post photos from the floor of the chamber.

The newly proposed policy backed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., is seen as a response to the “sit-in” protest that House Democrats mounted last June in an effort to force a vote on gun control legislation that had been blocked by Republicans. Democrats turned to live streaming via Facebook Live and Periscope to spread the word about their protest after Ryan ordered the House’s C-SPAN camera turned off. C-SPAN typically offers a live feed of House and Senate sessions.

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Rep. Elijah Cummings

Democrats’ Sit-In Over Gun Control Vote Showcases Facebook Live, Periscope

The proposed rules would fine members $500 for live broadcasting or photos sent from the House floor. The fine would rise to $2,500 for subsequent offences. The fines would be deducted from each members’ salary, according to NBC News.

“These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work,” Ryan spokeswoman Ashlee Strong said in a statement.

House rules established in 2000 and clarified in 2009 already prohibit members from using “mobile electronic devices that impair decorum,” a list that includes “wireless telephones and personal computers.” The proposed rule change would add fines to help enforce those rules, a source said.

The Democrats’ gun control protest was seen as a milestone moment for Facebook Live, demonstrating the ease with which users can serve up live broadcasts. It also came on the heels of disturbing police shooting incidents that were also captured in part on Facebook Live.

The proposed rule will be voted on by the full House when it returns to session in early January. Some Democrats, not surprisingly, are vowing to fight it. Rep. Eric Swalwell, D-Calif., was among those who took to Twitter to blast Republicans for the proposed rule change.

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  1. Mike M says:

    Yep it would take MONTHS to raise $2500 to pay a Periscope fine via a Kickstarter campaign.

  2. bonnehou58 says:

    Do these commenters realize it is already a rule? Ryan is calling for it to be enforced. I have a feeling I already know who instituted the rule to begin with.

    • K says:

      “The newly proposed policy…”
      “‘These changes will help ensure that order and decorum are preserved in the House of Representatives so lawmakers can do the people’s work,’ Ryan spokeswoman Ashlee Strong said in a statement.”

      Wrong. I have a feeling you think you’re smarter than you are, which is not very

  3. Dacree says:

    And how, exactly are taking photos or live streaming in any way preventing these jerks from doing the peoples business? It’s such a thin premise it would be laughable if not for everyone taking the idea seriously.

  4. Thomas G Sigler says:

    I’m sure the Nationalist Party of 1930’s Germany would give that idea a rousing salute, heel click and a hearty “Sieg Heil”.

  5. Dave says:

    Limiting media and public access… This does not bode well for a free society.

  6. Steve Barr says:

    If the mango Mussolini and his brown shirts in Congress think that Americans will ever kneel before Zod they have another thing coming .

  7. i-Fight4Liberty says:

    the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

    Democrats are always trying to take people’s INDIVIDUAL rights away.

    Why is that?

    Because then you can buy votes with other peoples money.

    Democracy Sucks, which is why America was founded as a Constitutional Republic, dedicated to the Liberty of the Individual.

    In other words, America is a Libertarian Constitutional Republic and that infuriates Democrats.

    • Caitlin says:

      Democrats trying to take your guns = buying votes with other people’s money…that argument is flawed in every way. There are people in Congress on both sides of the aisle who are proponents for tighter gun laws in this country, which by no means translates to “taking your guns away.” It may mean more stringent background checks and FBI checks for individuals but it has never been a revocation of the 2nd amendment. I think it makes perfect sense to restrict individuals from buying guns if they’ve been investigated by the FBI for possible terrorist connections, or if they’re ex-cons. BOTH parties cater to lobbyist interests, which is essentially the buying and selling of votes, per se. The largely Republican-backed Patriot Act sought and succeeded to illegally spy on millions of Americans, as brought to light by Edward Snowden…and now the Republican House speaker stands to cut off Americans’ rights to know the work being done by their elected officials. So don’t come at this conversation with weak and factless claims when Republicans aren’t even subtle about their intentions to keep the truth from the people who voted them into office. AND the Democratic Party doesn’t attract neo-nazis to their cause or believe that you can pray the gay out of people, so think long and hard about what the GOP really stands for these days other than an antiquated, backwards belief system that will ultimately die along with the oil tycoons who support it in their quest for money at the expense of this planet.

    • Hopper says:

      You conveniently left out the part about the militia when referring to the right to keep and bear arms, but never mind what the amendment actually says.

      • i-Fight4Liberty says:

        What part of “shall not be infringed” don’t you get?

      • Drumpf says:

        Make sure to read the First Amendment, before you get to the 2nd.

      • i-Fight4Liberty says:

        I didn’t need to leave it out.

        The Marxists otherwise known as Democrats where attempting to infringe on the right of American’s to have the ability to protect their Life, Liberty and Property.

        Enough said.

  8. dji says:

    so exactly what do the GOP want to hide?

    • paus says:

      The Fascists otherwise known as Republicans are attempting to eliminate government transparency so that they don’t have to answer to Americans when they take away our Life, Liberty and Property.

      • Ranger Rick says:

        I believe that C-SPAN still operates and visitors are encouraged to visit the gallery, but boorish disruptive behavior by members should be prohibited.

  9. Tim James says:

    Secrecy is the Freedom tyrants dream of. — Bill Moyers

  10. Reaction says:

    Democracy…not.

  11. Tyson Pate says:

    So being able to hide from the cameras will preserve order and decorum? Riiiight.

  12. Bas says:

    Congress powers are just insanity.

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