Paul Ryan lectures members on the House floor about respect and professionalism


Tardy lawmakers on Capital Hill received a reprimand from Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) Friday, who felt he should remind House members that they are expected to be on-time and appropriately attired when conducting the nations business.

“Members should wear appropriate business attire during all sittings of the House, however brief their appearance on the floor may be,” Ryan said, ostensibly referencing a habit of some members to arrive on the House floor in jeans or workout clothes on days when formal attire is inconvenient, as when they are flying in or out of Washington.

Ryan also brought up tardiness. According to House rules, there is a 15-minute period for the first vote in a series. Votes often take 20 or 30 minutes, however, as the House waits for all 435 lawmakers to assemble. Last year, Ryan announced that the rules would be enforced. Following that announcement, he closed a vote on an Iran sanctions bill at the appropriate time, leaving some members out. The House eventually allowed the delinquent members to vote, however.

On Friday, Ryan was met with applause when he broached the subject of timeliness.

“The chair wishes to stress efforts to reduce voting times,” Ryan said. “As a point of courtesy to your colleagues, voting within the allotted time would help with the maintenance of this institution.”

While addressing the members Friday, Ryan reminded them about other rules and standards. He cautioned them not to address remarks to the presiding officer and to avoid walking in the well of the chamber while others are speaking. He also underscored a rule that says lawmakers cannot take photos or record video on the House floor, a House rule adopted in January after Democrats staged a sit-in on the floor over gun control.

The new rule says lawmakers who take pictures on the House floor are subject to a $500 fine for the first incident, and $2,500 for successive incidents.

“Following these basic standards of practice will foster an atmosphere of mutual and institutional respect,” Ryan said during the lecture. “In other words, follow the rules.”

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