Rep. Lewis Likens Cell Phone Ban on House Floor to 'Blood Sunday'


(AJC) - U.S. Rep. John Lewis invoked his experience getting badly beaten on Bloody Sunday in 1965 as he spoke against a proposed change to the House rules that was seen as the GOP’s punishment for the gun control sit-in the Atlanta Democrat led on the floor last summer.

But it wasn’t enough to stop lawmakers from voting along party lines Tuesday to approve the rules package, which among other changes would fine lawmakers up to $2,500 for using their cell phones to shoot photos or video on the House floor.

In an impassioned speech from the well of the House Tuesday afternoon, the civil rights icon and longtime congressman said he was not afraid of fines or other penalties but worried they could have a “chilling effect” on lawmakers:

“During the 60s, many of us were arrested many times, beaten, left bloody and unconscious on the march from Selma to Montgomery. But no Congress, nobody, and no committee has the power to tell us that we cannot stand and speak up and speak truth to power.”

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