Republicans are rebelling against the requirement to wear a mask on the House floor, stoking tensions with majority Democrats who are refusing to change the rules despite updated guidance from federal health officials.
The GOP lawmakers opted to keep their masks off during votes on Tuesday.
Their defiance could come at a financial cost. Lawmakers who refuse to wear a mask are subject to a fine of $500 for the first offense. Subsequent offenses can result in a $2,500 fine.
In practice, however, the House Sergeant at Arms is providing a warning for the first offense.
Seven lawmakers will be getting such warnings, according to a list obtained by The Associated Press: Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Chip Roy of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Mary Miller of Illinois
Three more had already received a warning and will be fined $500. They are Reps. Brian Mast of Florida, Mariannette Miller-Meeks of Iowa and Beth Van Duyne of Texas.
I have been fined $500 by @SpeakerPelosi for following CDC guidance.
This was never about science. It has always been about power.
— Rep. Brian Mast (@RepBrianMast) May 19, 2021
Under rules imposed by Democrats last year, lawmakers can remove their masks when speaking on the House floor, but otherwise must keep them on when they are in the chamber. There is no requirement for wearing masks in the Senate chamber.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently altered its mask guidelines, saying it’s safe for fully vaccinated people to skip face coverings and social distancing in virtually all situations.
Lawmakers and others in the Capitol have stopped wearing masks when moving around the building.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin of Maryland told reporters that he can’t wait to take his mask off during House floor proceedings. “The reason we can’t take our masks off is because so many Republicans are not vaccinated and are refusing to do it,” he said.
After Tuesday’s votes, several of the Republicans who declined to wear a mask gathered outside the Capitol for a group picture.
— Marjorie Taylor Greene ?? (@mtgreenee) May 18, 2021
Massie tweeted: “We’ve had enough. We are refusing to wear our masks on the floor during this vote in spite of Pelosi’s threat to take $500 from each of us. Her rule is not based on science.”
We’ve had enough. We are refusing to wear our masks on the floor during this vote in spite of Pelosi’s threat to take $500 from each of us.
Her rule is not based on science. All you need to know is the mask rule has only ever applied to members when they can be seen on TV !
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 18, 2021
The Western Journal has reviewed this Associated Press story and may have altered it prior to publication to ensure that it meets our editorial standards.
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