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Thank You for Smoking? GOP Revokes Nearly Two-Decade-Old Rule from the Pelosi Era

As Republicans regain control of the House of Representatives, the smell of success seems to be a lot like cigar smoke. Smoking in most places inside the Capitol was banned in 2007 during the reign of then-House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, according to Fox News. Despite the ban in most places in the vast structure, members were allowed to smoke in their offices. Former Speaker John Boehner of Ohio was among the most prolific smokers, often consuming more than a pack a day, Fox News noted. Washington, D.C., bans indoor smoking, but its laws do not cover the grounds of the House and Senate, which fall under federal jurisdiction. Smoking now is allowed in House committee rooms, and its return has brought about some conflict, as documented by various media outlets. Reuters reporter Patricia Zengerle noted that “there’s indoor smoking on the House side of the Capitol now that the Republicans have taken control.” “When you have a change in party control, and they move offices like they just did, if the member who moves into the office is … a cigar smoker — you have smoke,” Zengerle wrote in part. Arthur Delaney of HuffPost said he was “struck by an overwhelming aroma of cigar smoke outside the Rules Committee when lawmakers returned to Washington Jan. 3. The odor has stayed strong since.” A nearby press gallery has “several air purifiers running” to address the cigar fumes, Delaney said. Smoking in the House chamber was banned on Jan. 10, 1896, according to the House’s website. Smoking in the spectator galleries and the House floor, during its sessions, was banned in 1871. The 1896 rule did not ban smoking in the Democratic or Republican cloakrooms, the Speaker’s Lobby, or other parts of the House. That took place in the Pelosi era with her 2007 ban. However, nothing quite resembles the memories Charles Dickens penned of going through Congress in the era of chewing tobacco, Roll Call noted a decade ago, citing an 1842 piece. Dickens suggested not looking at the floors, and if an object was dropped, not to use “an ungloved hand on any account” to pick it up. The carpets in the Capitol, due to those missing a spittoon, “do not admit of being described,” Dickens wrote. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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