With the beginning of the new Republican-controlled House on Tuesday, metal detectors were removed from the area outside the House chamber.
Following the attack on the Capitol on January 6, 2021, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) ordered the addition of a second layer of security, according to The Hill.
The installation of the metal detectors angered House Republicans, some of whom at first refused to submit to the additional security checks and forced their way past Capitol Police without going through the magnetometers.
Pelosi responded by announcing that the House would impose fines of $5,000 for a first offense and $10,000 for a second for MPs who disregarded security.
“It is tragic that this step is necessary, but the chamber of the People’s House must and will be safe,” she said at the time.
In a video shared to Twitter on Tuesday, Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), who was shown arguing with police about the metal detectors in the days following their installation, praised their removal.
“When I arrived in Congress two years, Nancy Pelosi put this hunk of garbage outside of the House chambers for members of Congress to go through,” Boebert said, as the metal detectors were removed behind her.
“Today, they are being removed and we are turning Pelosi’s House back into the people’s House.”
Republicans in the chamber protested the metal detectors’ existence despite the fact that they were put in place to keep people safe due to an upsurge in political violence in the US and concerns that Republicans might be carrying weapons onto the floor.
Rep. Matt Gaetz of (R-Fla.) and Boebert attempted to bypass security checkpoints on many occasions and, in some cases, pushed their way past Capitol police officers to get to the House floor, according to The Independent. Democrats created penalties for skipping the security checkpoints: $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for the second.
The House Ethics Committee ultimately fined six members in 2021, including Reps. Louie Gohmert of Texas, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, and Lloyd Smucker of Pennsylvania. Shortly after they were put in place, GOP legislators charged Pelosi with failing to pass through a security checkpoint to enter the chamber.
Republicans clashed with Democrats over a number of topics during the previous Congress, including the logistical management of the House by the Democrats and the metal detectors.
Republicans were also fined for refusing to wear masks on the House floor, and in January 2021, police discovered a revolver during a security check of Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland. But now, the House is under new leadership. After the midterm elections in November, the Republican Party regained control of the House. Ms. Pelosi stepped down as the Democratic leader and was succeeded by Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of New York.
Since Rep. Kevin McCarthy is finding it difficult to rally the Republican caucus behind his quest for speaker, it is currently unknown who will take over as speaker.