The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made headlines this week by issuing new guidance that fully vaccinated Americans can forego a face mask in most situations.
Among U.S. lawmakers, however, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) declared that she will keep the chamber’s mask mandate in effect — and nearly three dozens GOP members are speaking out.
“Return to normal”
A letter signed by 34 Republicans landed on Pelosi’s desk in protest of her ongoing requirement.
“In accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance released on May 13, 2021, we urge you to immediately return to normal voting procedures and end mandatory mask requirements in the House of Representatives,” they wrote.
Roughly 75% of Congress members have been vaccinated and all have had the opportunity to get their shots, the GOP lawmakers continued.
“The United States Congress must serve as a model to show the country we can resume normal life through vaccination,” they concluded. “Let’s follow the science and get back to work.”
In an encouraging update this week, the CDC clarified that in all but a handful of situations, vaccinated individuals should feel safe in most indoor and outdoor spaces without a mask.
“Telling us to follow the science”
“We’ve gotten this far,” the agency noted. “Whether you choose to get vaccinated or wear a mask, please protect yourself until we get to the finish line.”
Nevertheless, Pelosi replied “no” when asked if she would change her existing mask mandate on the House floor, adding: “Are they all vaccinated?”
Some of the harshest comments from fellow lawmakers came from Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH), who led the group behind the letter and issued a statement of his own.
“For all the talk from President Biden, Speaker Pelosi, and the mainstream media telling us to follow the science, political leaders should be setting an example for getting back to normal, not cowering in fear in defiance of common sense,” he wrote.
Gibbs insisted that the “House of Representatives is filled with enough political drama” and does not need Democratic Party leaders “contributing to vaccine hesitancy with the same Mask-erpiece Theater Congress engaged in during Biden’s address to the joint session.”