The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced a major change to its guidelines on mask-wearing this week, declaring that people who are fully vaccinated no longer need to wear masks indoors or outdoors.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), however, will not be changing her strict masking requirements for House members and staff in accordance with those new guidelines, Breitbart reported.
Pelosi won’t ease requirements
Pelosi simply replied “no” when asked by CNN reporter Manu Raju whether she would relax the masking rules she had imposed on the House in light of the new CDC guidance. She then flipped the question to put the onus on House members and asked, “Are they all vaccinated?”
Speaker Nancy Pelosi told me “no” she isn’t changing the rule requiring masks on the House floor.
“No,” Pelosi said. “Are they all vaccinated?”
— Manu Raju (@mkraju) May 13, 2021
Raju further noted that, according to a memo from the Capitol physician, the House mask requirements would remain unchanged until all members and floor staff had been fully vaccinated, though the rules would be relaxed somewhat for the fully vaccinated inside the House office buildings.
GOP demands return to normalcy in Congress
Pelosi’s refusal to ease masking requirements for House members and staff didn’t sit well with a number of Republican members who sent her a letter demanding a return to normalcy and relaxation of the rules, The Daily Caller reported.
“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,” wrote Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-OH) in the letter that was also signed by 33 of his GOP colleagues.
“CDC guidance states fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask or physically distance in any setting except where required by governmental or workplace mandate. It is time to update our own workplace regulations,” the letter continued. “Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”
The letter noted in conclusion, “The United States Congress must serve as a model to show the country we can resume normal life through vaccination. Let’s follow the science and get back to work.”
In a separate statement to The Daily Caller, Gibbs said, “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.”
“Based on sound science, the CDC says those who are vaccinated have an incredibly low risk of becoming infected with coronavirus,” he continued. “With that data, there is no reason the House of Representatives should not be fully open and returned to normal operations. It’s time to end the House’s mask mandate and staggered voting.”
“The House of Representatives is filled with enough political drama,” Gibbs added. “The last thing we should be doing is contributing to vaccine hesitancy with the same Mask-erpiece Theater Congress engaged in during Biden’s address to the joint session. I and my colleagues are calling on Speaker Pelosi to reverse these restrictions and allow the People’s House to resume regular operations.”