The magnetometers that were placed in the House Chamber following the January 6, 2021 attack on the U.S. Capitol were removed on Tuesday, according to reports.
House Republicans, who took the majority when the 118th Congress convened at 12pm Eastern Time Tuesday, had promised to remove the magnetometers as part of its new rules package—along with a plan to investigate the DOJ and the FBI, which some House Republicans called “weaponized” under Democratic leadership.
Outgoing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had the magnetometers installed after January 6, and fined House members thousands of dollars who allegedly breached them.
Tuesday was the first day that much of the Capitol building would reopen to the public after three years because of pandemic restrictions.
As Republicans took majority at 12pm Tuesday, it was unclear whether Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), who was Minority Leader in the 117th Congress, could garner the necessary votes to secure the House Speakership. He promised a “battle on the floor” of the House if needed to overcome resistance from far-right members of his party.
The Constitution requires that the House elect a Speaker, and the vote takes priority over all other business. No other business can be done until the question is resolved.
The House last failed to elect a Speaker on the first ballot exactly a century ago, in 1923, and it has only happened once since the Civil War.
The longest it ever took for the House to vote for Speaker was in 1855, when it took two months and 133 floor votes before members reached a plurality.