Members snap photos of pope from the House floor

Members snap photos of pope from the House floor
© Greg Nash

Some lawmakers couldn’t help but snap pictures from the House floor Thursday during Pope Francis’ historic speech to Congress.

Nearly a dozen members quickly tweeted pictures of themselves and colleagues waiting for the speech, and some others were spotted snapping pictures during the address, despite decorum rules that generally prohibit photography in the chamber.

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The largely unenforced rule can be traced back to the “Rules of the House of Representatives” that prohibit people on the floor from smoking or using a “mobile electronic device that impairs decorum.” With the increasing use of mobile phones, the rules have been relaxed, allowing press to take electronic devices into the gallery, but a general prohibition on photos still remains.

Some members have scoffed at rules as being outdated. And during big moments — especially during swearing in ceremonies at the beginning of Congress — lawmakers take wide latitude.

While some like Reps. Karen BassKaren Ruth BassDOJ announces agencywide limits on chokeholds and no-knock entries The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by AT&T - Supreme Court lets Texas abortion law stand Bass says she is 'seriously considering' running for LA mayor MORE (D-Calif.) and Brenda Lawrence (D-Mich.) tweeted pictures of the pope speaking, others, such as Rep. Lois FrankelLois Jane FrankelDemocrats repeal prohibition on funding abortions abroad Investing in child care paves the way to a better economy Democrats introduce equal pay legislation for US national team athletes MORE (D-Fla.), snapped pictures posing with colleagues ahead of the address. Others, including Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), tweeted pictures of the gallery, where Kentucky head coach John Calipari was sitting.

Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-Okla.) appeared to quickly delete a photo of him “joining my friends and fellow representatives in welcoming Pope Francis to the House floor.” Others tweeting photos from the floor included Sen. Jerry MoranGerald (Jerry) MoranIt's time for Congress to act before slow mail turns into no mail Kaine says he has votes to pass Iraq War repeal in Senate Seven-figure ad campaign urges GOP to support infrastructure bill MORE (R-Kan.) and Reps. Tim Huelskamp (R-Kan.) and Chellie Pingree (D-Minn.).