Republicans Defy Mask Rules On House Floor, Incurring Fines & Official Warnings
On Tuesday, several Republican lawmakers challenged Speaker Nancy Pelosi‘s (D-California) mask mandate during a House floor vote, refusing to wear masks, racking up fines and official warnings.
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
Masks are child abuse!@SpeakerPelosi, I’m maskless on the House floor right now to stand up for this little girl and every child in America subjected to this abuse.
Kids shouldn’t be forced to wear masks!! pic.twitter.com/YJXsttddNa
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) May 19, 2021
— Congresswoman Mary Miller (@RepMaryMiller) May 18, 2021
Pelosi instituted the mandate in January that required House members to wear a mask on the floor or be fined $500 on a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.
Despite D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser‘s ongoing requirement that both vaccinated and unvaccinated people mask up while shopping, riding public transit or entering common areas, the Constitution says that Congress remains free to define its own rules.
It has been 108 days since a member of Congress has announced a positive test for COVID-19, and GOP representatives are starting to rebel since no similar rules exist for the Senate. Lawmakers have set varying policies on telework, social distancing and mask-wearing for staffers within their private offices.
It is not clear how many workers at the complex have been vaccinated. Acting Chief Yogananda Pittman told the Senate Legislative Branch Appropriations Subcommittee that more than 67 percent of Capitol Police had received vaccines as of late April.
Pelosi recently told reporters she believes about 75 percent of lawmakers in the House have been vaccinated and reiterated that more Republicans need to get vaccinated if they desire shorter voting times and a return to pre-pandemic operations.
But Tuesday’s rebellion comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) loosened facial covering guidance for those fully vaccinated. The relaxation of these rules even stretches to include indoor settings, except for crowded environments.
A Capitol official said that three Republicans would be issued $500 fines for defying the mask rules on Tuesday: Reps. Brian Mast (R-Florida), Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa).
He also said that seven other Republicans would be issued warnings: Thomas Massie (R-Kentucky), Lauren Boebert (R-Colorado), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Georgia), Chip Roy (R-Texas), Bob Good (R-Virginia), Mary Miller (R-Illinois) and Louie Gohmert (R-Texas).
Among the R’s I’ve spotted refusing to wear a mask thus far:
— Melanie Zanona (@MZanona) May 18, 2021
If these lawmakers defy the mandate again, they could face either $500 or $2,500 fines, respectively.
Mast, who was issued a $500 fine for refusing to wear a mask, was first approached by a staff member of the House sergeant-at-arms during votes. Then others joined him in protest..
Miller, who was also issued a $500 fine and sat in the front row next to Rep. Ralph Norman (R-South Carolina), who also refused to wear a face-covering but was not among the ten fined or warned lawmakers.
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 19, 2021