Despite new relaxed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is showing little desire to roll back her strict mask rules for members of Congress.
In fact, she has reportedly fined four House Republicans for violating the mandate.
“Follow the science”
According to Fox News, Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), Brian Mast (R-FL), Beth Van Duyne (R-TX), and Ralph Norman (R-SC) were each assessed a $500 fine for entering the House floor without a face mask.
Further violations could result in increased fines of up to $2,500. The four fined legislators and a number of others were also issued warnings.
The CDC’s latest guidance indicates that fully vaccinated Americans can feel safe foregoing a face covering in most public situations, but Pelosi has continued to require masks for elected officials and others in the lower chamber.
For their part, Republicans have been applying political pressure on the speaker in an attempt to see the strict requirement rolled back, initially in the form of a letter urging her to “follow the science.”
Pelosi has thus far resisted those efforts, prompting House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to draw up a resolution intended to force the House rules to more closely reflect current CDC guidelines.
“Up above in the gallery”
McCarthy’s proposal failed in the Democratic-led House with a party-line vote of 218–210.
As for when Pelosi might agree to rescind the longstanding mask rule, she and Dr. Brian Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician, have suggested the requirement will remain in place until all Congress members of staff on the House floor have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
The speaker has indicated that roughly 75% of all representatives are already inoculated. All members of the House have long had the opportunity to get their shots.
In the face of mounting pressure to back off her mask mandate, Pelosi has gone so far as to suggest that she might take it a step further by banning unvaccinated lawmakers from voting on the House floor.
“I mean, we could come to a place where we could say, ‘If you don’t want to wear a mask and if you don’t want to…if you’re not vaccinated, then don’t even come to the floor,” she said this week. according to Breitbart. “We have facilities up above in the gallery where people can come to vote.”