Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas and Rep. Andrew Clyde of Georgia said Friday they plan to challenge an “unconstitutional” new policy requiring they pass through metal detectors to enter the House floor.
Mr. Gohmert and Mr. Clyde each said they received fines this week for violating a new rule that carries penalties for members of the House of Representatives who disregard the new security measure.
Less than a month after mobs of people violently stormed the U.S. Capitol and roamed the halls of Congress unrestrained, the Democratic-controlled House approved the new policy earlier this week.
The policy, approved late Tuesday, directs the House sergeant-at-arms to impose a fine against any member “for failure to complete security screening for entrance to the House Chamber.”
Congress members who skip out on the screening, which currently includes newly installed metal detectors, are fined $5,000 for the first infraction and $10,000 for each one afterward, per the rule.
Mr. Gohmert said in a statement Friday that he received a $5,000 fine after an incident the day before in which he briefly stepped away from the House floor to use the nearby men’s room.
“Unlike in the movie The Godfather, there are no toilets with tanks where one could hide a gun, so my reentry onto the House floor should have been a non-issue,” said Mr. Gohmert.
“I will be appealing the fine and taking whatever action is necessary, especially considering this policy is unconstitutional,” said Mr. Gohmert. “Article 1, Section 6 of the U.S. Constitution contains specific language prohibiting Members of Congress from being detained on the way to or from a session of the House,” the nine-term Texas congressman said in the statement.
Mr. Clyde, who joined Congress just last month, separately raised the same concerns while appearing Friday evening on the Fox News opinion program hosted by conservative commentator Laura Ingraham.
“We represent 700,000 people in our districts, and the Constitution says that we cannot be impeded when we go to the floor to vote, and those metal detectors are unconstitutional,” said Mr. Clyde.
“I’m going to fight it, I’m going to appeal it, and then I’m going to take them to court. Because this is unconstitutional. We’re all set up to do that. But I had to have standing,” Mr. Clyde added.
Mr. Clyde may have more financially at stake in the fight than Mr. Gohmert, meanwhile. Appearing on Fox News Channel’s “The Ingraham Angle,” the first-term congressmen admitted he is a repeat offender already.
“That fine was for a couple of days ago. I’ve had a couple of times since then, I think, so I’m probably up to $25,000 by now,” said Mr. Clyde.
The new House rule allows for the fines to be deducted from the salary of the offending party. It also provides a process to appeal through the House Committee on Ethics.