The Washington Examiner reported Tuesday that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) had moved to impose heavy fines on members of Congress who refuse to wear a mask on the House floor.
Under a new set of House rules, first-time offenders would be charged $500 for failing to wear a face covering to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The second offense would earn legislators a fine of $2,500, the Examiner reported.
“Fined and removed”
Among those advocating for the new rule was Washington Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat who was diagnosed with COVID-19 shortly after the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last week.
According to ABC News, Jayapal and other Democrats who have tested positive for the disease in recent days have pinned the blame on Republicans who refused to wear masks while lawmakers were sheltering together during the rampage.
Notably, Jayapal had to push back Thursday on criticism over a photo showing her without a mask on the House floor that day, ABC reported. But that didn’t stop her from stumping for the new fees.
“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy,” Jayapal said in a tweet Monday, according to the Washington Examiner.
She went on: “I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”
Hypocrisy on the left
In another tweet, Jayapal said her GOP colleagues had “cruelly refused to wear a mask” and “recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one.”
Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy. I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.
— Rep. Pramila Jayapal (@RepJayapal) January 12, 2021
Of course, it’s not just Jayapal who’s faced accusations of hypocrisy for their actions amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Pelosi took flak earlier this month for allowing Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) to show up in-person to vote for her for speaker, despite Moore getting a positive diagnosis for the disease the week before.
As The Hill noted, that decision brought widespread mockery from Republicans, who accused Pelosi of skirting the rules to benefit her own bottom line.
“Pelosi is putting the public’s health at risk to keep herself in power,” Colorado Rep. Ken Buck (R) tweeted, according to The Hill. To House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), the move was just plain “wrong.”