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Selfies on the Floor: Members-Elect Break the Rules While They Still Can

Members-elect took tons of selfies in the House chamber, breaking the rules before they're bound by them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Members-elect took tons of selfies in the House chamber, breaking the rules before they're bound by them. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Freshman orientation has been full of selfies as the newly elected members of the 116th Congress get to know their classmates and surroundings on Capitol Hill. But many have been breaking a well-known House rule against photos in the House chamber.

At least eight incoming House members posted selfies in the House chamber to their social media accounts on Tuesday. Maybe the newcomers haven’t been briefed on the rules of decorum in the House, or maybe they got a pass during the exciting orientation tours.  

At least one current member got in on the selfie action, Massachusetts Democrat Joe Kennedy.

House rules state that people on the floor may not “use a mobile electronic device that impairs decorum.”

The House adopted more punitive rules at the start of the 115th Congress to fine members who use electronic devices to take pictures or video from the House floor. Members could be fined $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for any subsequent offense.

That came after Democrats live-streamed a 25 hour sit-in in the House chamber focused on gun control legislation. Rules were already in place to prohibit photos on the floor and the Democrats were ordered repeatedly during the 2016 demonstration to stop taking photos and videos by House Sergeant-at-Arms staff. 

The House wasn’t in session during the after-hours tours and that may account for the lax response to the photo sessions. The new members will likely get another chance to throw rules of decorum to the wind — selfies and other photos on the first day of a new session are usually rampant. 

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