‘This change will finally codify that no restriction may be placed on a member’s ability to do the job they were elected to do simply because of their faith…’
(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., one of the first female Muslim members of Congress, said in a tweet Saturday that she plans on trying to change the rules of the House floor so she can wear a hijab.
No one puts a scarf on my head but me. It’s my choice—one protected by the first amendment.
And this is not the last ban I’m going to work to lift. https://t.co/7U3ZLTaWur
— Ilhan Omar (@IlhanMN) November 17, 2018
As it stands, Omar is allowed to wear her hijab inside the U.S. Capitol building. But on the floor of the House, where representatives give speeches and vote on legislation, head coverings are not permitted for a variety of reasons, including safety precautions.
Hats of any kind have been banned from the House floor since 1837: “Every member shall remain uncovered during the sessions of the House,” the House Historian’s office said.
The rule has never been enforced against congressional members, staff or religious leaders from wearing head coverings on the floor, but Omar wants to overturn it anyways.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., who hopes to become the House’s next speaker, has joined Omar in her fight to change the rule.
“Democrats know that our strength lies in our diversity, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation or religion,” Pelosi said in a statement to NBC News. “After voters elected the most diverse Congress in history, clarifying the antiquated rule banning headwear will further show the remarkable progress we have made as a nation.”
The incoming House Rules Committee Chairman Jim McGovern, D-Mass., has also agreed to back an exemption for religious headwear.
“This change will finally codify that no restriction may be placed on a member’s ability to do the job they were elected to do simply because of their faith,” McGovern said. “The American people just elected the most diverse Congress in history and our rules should embody that.”