As the Republican Congress prepares to vote on repealing the Affordable Care Act, gutting Social Security benefits for seniors and the disabled, and other measures to please their billionaire donor base, they are apparently deathly afraid of the American public seeing them do it, and even more afraid of allowing the public to see the Democrats' response:
House members could be fined and referred to the Ethics Committee if they break rules governing electronic video and pictures in the House chamber under a new rule proposed by House Republicans more than six months after the Democrats' guerrilla sit-in over gun control.
"Any subsequent offense will be assessed at the higher amount, regardless of whether it is connected to any other offense by time or proximity," part of the proposal reads.
The "fine" would be $500 for the "first offense" of photographing or videotaping, with $2500 for every "subsequent offense," according to the proposed Rule.
In addition, the new Republican rule would ban anyone from seeing organized protests by the opposition, because sit-ins in the House well will be banned as well:
In addition, lawmakers cannot block the well of the House as Democrats did with their sit-in in June, when they called for votes on bills strengthening background checks and barring firearms sales to people on the government's no-fly list. The sit-in, which lasted over 24 hours, unfolded less than two weeks after the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.
Republicans were apoplectic when their NRA-sponsored efforts to keep guns in the hands of suspected terrorists and those with criminal backgrounds were called out by House Democrats, who relied on social media and phone cameras to alert the American people to their protests while the House was in recess and its internal cameras were turned off. The protests drew widespread positive media coverage.
House Speaker Paul Ryan's office says that the changes are essential to assure the American public that its representatives are doing the "people's work."
Democrats have responded with exhortations to "bring it on:"
It is understandable why the House would want to block the public from seeing protests by their representatives. Among the various initiatives the Republicans plan to pass in the new session is pending legislation to cut Social Security benefits by 17-28%, replace Medicare with a "coupon system," and, of course, eliminate health insurance for 22 million Americans.
None of these actions is likely to be especially "camera-friendly," and all are likely to elicit a concerted Democratic response.
More from NBC News here.