House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) says the mask mandate required on the floor of the lower chamber will remain in place, despite the CDC offering new guidance that fully vaccinated Americans can ditch wearing masks in most places.
Pelosi argues that not everyone in the House is vaccinated, so the ban stays.
What are the details?
“No,” the speaker told the outlet. “Are they all vaccinated?”
Brian Monahan, the attending physician to Congress, issued a memo the same day, writing: “For the Hall of the House: The present mask requirement and other guidelines remain unchanged until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated.”
The Washington Post noted that Dr. Monahan further states in his update that per CDC guidance, “recovery from natural infection is not equivalent to completion of a vaccination.”
Some GOP House members such as Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), have publicly stated that they will not get the COVID-19 vaccines because they already have antibodies after previously contacting the virus, according to The Washington Examiner.
Rep. Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) told Fox News’ Laura Ingraham Thursday night that the House floor mask mandate “should have been gone months ago,” telling the host, “Most members are either vaccinated or have antibodies — it’s a dumb rule to have.”
In a tweet, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) wrote that Pelosi keeping the mandate in place is “not about science. It’s all about power.”
A group of 34 Republicans sent Pelosi a letter first obtained by The Daily Caller on Thursday, calling on the speaker to lift the mandate following the guidance.
“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,” the letter reads. “It is time to update our own workplace regulations. Every member of Congress has had the opportunity to be vaccinated, and you have indicated about 75 percent have taken advantage of this opportunity.”
Members who violate the House mask mandate face a $500 fine for the first offense, and $2,500 for a second offense.
Meanwhile, Senate Republicans have celebrated the CDC’s changes by tossing their masks, although most were seen continuing to wear the coverings in the chamber on Thursday.
The Hill reported that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) were seen pulling off their masks and yelling “freedom” after they stepped off an elevator together following the CDC announcement.
Following the final vote for the week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was seen walking maskless after leaving the Senate chamber, saying out loud: “Free at last.”