House Democrats Institute Fines Against Lawmakers Refusing To Wear Face Masks
Democrats introduced fines for lawmakers who refuse to wear face masks on the House floor, following the positive COVID-19 diagnoses of at least three House members after they were forced to take shelter with maskless colleagues during the riot at the U.S. Capitol.
Mask wearing in the House chamber has been required since July, however, there has been few repercussions for those failing to comply.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California) previously warned that failure to wear a mask on the floor would result in removal by the sergeant at arms. In December, she added a threat of not being granted speaking time on the floor. However, those consequences have not been enforced.
The proposed guidelines, which came Tuesday, will levy a $500 fine for the first offense and a $2,500 on the second, which will come out of the offending lawmaker’s paycheck.
“We’re done playing games,” Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) said in a statement. “Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine. It’s not that complicated.”
As pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6 to protest the results of the presidential election, lawmakers were forced to take cover in close quarters.
A video obtained by Punchbowl News showed several Republican lawmakers, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), Andy Biggs (R-Arizona), Markwayne Mullin (R-Oklahoma), Scott Perry (R-Pennsylvania) and Michael Cloud (R-Texas), declining masks offered by Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester (D-Delaware) while in the secure room.
Following the events at the Capitol, at least three lawmakers — Reps. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-New Jersey), Pramila Jayapal (D-Washington) and Brad Schneider (D-Illinois) — have all announced they have tested positive for COVID-19, suggesting they contracted the virus during the riot.