Republican lawmakers on Wednesday protested against the House floor mask mandate being reinstituted the previous evening, with several members of the minority party refusing to wear a face covering and Texas Rep. Chip Roy using a legislative delay tactic to show discontent.
“I can’t execute my constitutional duty unless I wear a mask. Well, which is it? Vaccines or masks? The vaccines work or they don’t work. Do the masks work, or they don’t work?” Roy said in an impassioned speech on the House floor Wednesday referencing Dr. Anthony Fauci, a Biden administration COVID-19 point man. “I’d like to know which it is. I’d like Dr. Fauci to come down and answer a single question about natural immunity.”
Following updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance that recommends vaccinated people should wear masks in some situations, the Congress’s attending physician brought back the requirement that lawmakers wear masks on the House floor. Members who refuse risk fines being taken out of their congressional salaries because of a rule adopted in January, with $500 for a first offense of not wearing a mask and $2,500 for a second offense.
In a display of civil disobedience, a number of members opted to risk the fine and declined to wear a mask, even when offered one by a staff member walking around the floor who offered disposable masks and wrote on a notepad after interactions with those who refused.
HOUSE MASK FINES PUT IN PLACE BY PELOSI FACE LAWSUIT FROM REPUBLICANS
Colorado Rep. Lauren Borbert reportedly threw a mask back at a staff member when asked to put one on. Other Republicans who declined to wear masks, in addition to Roy, included Reps. Andy Biggs of Arizona, Andrew Clyde of Georgia, Matt Gaetz of Florida, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mary Miller of Illinois, and Burgess Owens of Utah.
This is not the first time that House Republicans protested the rule by going maskless on the floor. About a dozen Republicans, including many of the same members, revolted in May after the House declined to immediately lift its mask mandate after a change in CDC guidance. Many of those were subsequently fined, and the masking requirement was not lifted until nearly a month later.
In another act of defiance, Roy called a motion to adjourn the House, which triggered an unexpected roll call vote.
The same legislative move was previously used by Roy in February to protest before Democrats voted to strip Greene of her committees in order to protest. And by multiple times Greene in protest of various Democratic bills. Those uses frustrated Democrats and some Republicans due to it disrupting other scheduled activities during the day, such as meetings or hearings, but Roy’s move took place right before other scheduled votes.
Roy’s motion failed 225-197, with seven Republicans voting with Democrats.
Democrats scoffed at Republicans’ objections to the mandate’s return. Asked about Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy’s argument that the mask mandate return does not follow the science, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called McCarthy a “moron.”
Wisconsin Rep. Mark Pocan said in a tweet that “listening to Republicans cry about masks is like listening to babies cry about wearing diapers.” Democratic California Rep. Jared Huffman reportedly got in a shouting match with Republican Rep. Byron Donalds outside the House floor over Donalds not wearing a mask.
Roy shot back at a tweet from Michigan Rep. Rashida Talib accusing Republicans of wanting to quit working: “America is better off if we adjourn” because Democrats could harm the country.
McCarthy blasted Pelosi’s comment calling him a moron.
“If she’s so brilliant, can she tell me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate? Can she explain to me, when the CDC says only vaccinated people need to wear a mask of hot spots? Can she explained to me if D.C. is a hot spot, when it’s clarified by everyone else it’s not with more than 86% of vaccination within here?” McCarthy told reporters. “If she knows so much science, explain to me where the science changes in the Rotunda.”
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“We have a crisis at our border, and we’re playing footsie with mask mandates in the people’s house,” Roy said in his floor speech. “It’s absolutely absurd what this body is doing. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a mockery. And the American people are fed up. They want to go back to life. They want to go back to business. They want to go back to school without their children being forced to wear masks.”
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Tags: News, Congress, Face masks, Coronavirus, House Republicans
Original Author: Emily Brooks
Original Location: House Republicans rage and disobey return of mask mandate: ‘Absolutely absurd’