Congressional Republicans' off-track start to the 115th Congress last week extended beyond trying to weaken ethics oversight. As part of a House rules package adopted the first day, a fine will be imposed on any member who streams online content from the floor for “political or personal” gain.
The vote came in response to the Democrats’ floor sit-in over gun legislation last year. Dems used Periscope and Facebook—and C-SPAN picked up the feeds—after Republicans recessed, branding it a political stunt, and the House cameras went dark per Congress rules.
The move to add the explicit social media sanctions was almost purely partisan, with no Democrats voting for them and only a handful of Republicans breaking ranks to vote against.
The Republicans argued they were just trying to preserve decorum. But that ship has already sailed, given the current rancor on both sides. We doubt that the social media genie can be forced back into the bottle, nor should it be.
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