Pelosi also briefed her colleagues on the security of the Capitol, informing them that "General Russell Honoré is preparing his assessment of the security of the campus and we expect updates soon." She also reminded them that upon their return they will vote on a rule change to fined any member who tries to bypass the metal detectors in order to get into the chamber of the house. The problem escalated this week when Rep. Andy Harris, a Republican from Maryland, attempted to get a hidden weapon on the floor of the house in violation of house rules. A number of Republicans have blown off detectors and disregarded the Capitol Police to enforce the new protocols.
"It's sad that this step is necessary," wrote Pelosi of the fines, "but the irreverent and dangerous refusal of some Republican members to maintain basic security for our congressional community – including our Capitol Police – is unacceptable." Any member of the House of Representatives will be fined $ 5,000 for refusing to cooperate with the screening. If they do it again, they'll pay a $ 10,000 fine. That money is withheld from their paychecks – they cannot use campaign funds or their expense accounts to pay them. The precedent for this new rule is the Mask Rule, passed last week, which punishes members who do not wear masks on the floor – $ 500 for a first offense and $ 2,500 for a second offense.
Pelosi ends her letter hopefully. "I am confident that, strengthened by the new Biden Harris administration and the 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 this can rise up and hope and history can rhyme. & # 39; "