Congressman stopped from bringing six-pack of beer onto the U.S. House floor

Posted at 5:36 AM, Jan 14, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-15 05:32:16-05

WASHINGTON — Freshman Rep. Joe Cunningham of South Carolina is looking to join the U.S. House of Representatives “Beer Caucus” (not real) after he was stopped by Capitol Police when he went to enter the House floor with a six-pack.

Cunningham (D), who represents South Carolina’s low country, which includes Charleston, had the six-pack for Rep. Peter A. DeFazio (D-Ore.) as a gift. DeFazio is the co-chair on the House Small Brewers Caucus, according to the Washington Post and others.

Laura Barrin-Lopez of Politico was the first to report the quirky and funny encounter between Cunningham and Capitol Police. Both Cunnigham and his House Small Brewers Caucus had fun on Twitter as well, in response to the information put out by Barrin-Lopez.

“Making friends when you’re a freshman is hard and I thought I’d grease the skids with some Lowcountry beer. Thankfully @RepPeterDeFazio got it in the end! Can I join the beer caucus now?,” said Cunningham in a tweet.

“Welcome aboard, @RepCunningham. First order of business — working on a rules change regarding six-packs on the House Floor. Only small & independent craft brews allowed!”, said Rep. DeFazio in a tweet.”

If you were surprised to know that there was a House Small Brewers Caucus in the United States House of Representatives, then know that is has been around since 2007 to gain a better understanding of all aspects of small brewing, from business and regulatory issues to the brewing process and history of the small brewing community, according to the Brewers Association. 

Cunningham also felt no shame in bringing the beer onto the House floor and even expressed so Friday in another tweet. He also said that the Lowcountry area of South Carolina has the best craft breweries in the country.

“They’re run by entrepreneurs who create thousands of good local jobs and produce the finest beer around. I’ll never apologize for promoting them,” said Cunningham.

Brewers Association says that “While small breweries share many of the same priorities and concerns that other small businesses have, brewing is a highly regulated business and has unique issues that most Americans are not aware of. The Small Brewers Caucus intends to provide information about the science and art of beer and brewing as well as relevant business, regulatory and societal issues.”

The House Small Brewers Caucus has 227 members as of June 2018. The U.S. Senate also has its own version of the House’s Caucus.