GOP Leader McCarthy Forces Vote on House Mask Mandate
The Democrat-majority U.S. House of Representatives voted Wednesday to uphold a requirement that everyone inside the chamber — the vast majority of whom have received coronavirus vaccinations — must wear a mask, rejecting a Republican bid to repeal the restriction.
House Minority Leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy of California and members from the GOP Doctors Caucus had written a resolution that, if passed, could have updated the guidelines.
“The continued House mask mandate sends the erroneous message that the efficacy of the vaccines cannot be trusted” and the “members of the House of Representatives have a responsibility to send a message to the American people that we can trust the safety and efficacy of the available COVID-19 vaccines,” the resolution stated.
The resolution failed after House members voted 218-210 along party lines to table it, The Hill reported.
The “Party of Science” doesn’t actually believe in science.
The CDC’s guidance is clear. Still forcing vaccinated members to wear masks on the House Floor is counter to the science and data and is nothing more than a power grab for Speaker Pelosi. https://t.co/MIhffXx2yV
— Brian Babin (@RepBrianBabin) May 19, 2021
“If Minority Leader McCarthy wants to be maskless on the Floor of the House of Representatives, he should get to work vaccinating his Members,” Drew Hammill, a spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, said, according to NBC News.
A day before McCarthy offered his resolution to the House, a group of Republican representatives, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia and Louie Gohmert of Texas, protested the House mask mandate by refusing to wear masks within the chamber.
The mask rule is enforced by a fine. According to NBC News, a first offense is a warning, a second gets one a fine of $500 and any further offenses are $2,500.
“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!” one of the protesters, Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky, said in a tweet on Tuesday.
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
Some of the protesting representatives received a warning, others were charged a $500 fine, and those who committed more than two offenses received the $2,500 penalty.
Rep. Brian Mast of Florida said of the penalty, “Best $500 I ever spent,” NBC News reported.
Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that people who are fully vaccinated do not need to put on masks unless they enter certain crowded locations.
Following the CDC announcement, the Capitol physician’s office issued guidance on Wednesday saying the House floor mask mandate still stands because it complies with CDC recommendations, The Hill reported.
In the guidance, the office said that the House mask rule is “entirely consistent” with the CDC’s recommendations because the House is “the only location where the entire Membership gathers periodically throughout the day in an interior space.”
According to NBC News, Congress’ attending physician, Brian Monahan, said that “precautions are necessary given the substantial number of partially vaccinated, unvaccinated, and vaccine-indeterminate individuals” to “reduce the risk of coronavirus outbreak.”
A CNN survey on Wednesday found that all 219 House Democrats said they got the COVID-19 vaccine. Among the Republicans, 97 of the 211 members said they had been vaccinated.
Pelosi issued the House floor mask mandate in July 2020. “Any person not wearing a face cover will be asked to put on a face cover or leave the building,” her notice to members said.
Six months later, House Democrats voted to punish noncompliance with fines.
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