Four GOP members of Congress were fined $500 for failing to wear a mask on the House floor in protest of the congressional mandate they argue needs to be updated in light of new coronavirus guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Seven other fellow Republican members of Congress were issued warnings: Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Chip Roy of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Mary Miller of Illinois and Louie Gohmert of Texas.
Meanwhile, GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., authored a resolution demanding the House comply with CDC guidelines and allow people to be unmasked on the floor and in committee hearings. The GOP-backed effort says the House “mask mandate sends the erroneous messages that the efficacy of the vaccines cannot be trusted.”
Mast and Miller-Meeks both said they are fully vaccinated and were just following the updated CDC guidelines that no longer advise mask-wearing for those who have completed the coronavirus shots. The CDC made exceptions for requirements by federal and state laws and guidelines set out by employers and businesses.
“The scientists at the CDC are telling us if you are fully vaccinated, you can go about your life without wearing a mask or physically distancing,” Mast said in a statement. “So, that’s what I’m doing. The question people should be asking is why is Speaker Pelosi not? For her, this has never been about science, it’s always been about power and control over the American people.”
Miller-Meeks, a physician, has long been encouraging her constituents to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and has spent time administering the shots back home in Iowa. She says the House should lead by example and return to normal operations.
“The new CDC guidelines say fully vaccinated individuals do not have to wear masks indoors,” Miller-Meeks’ spokesperson Will Kiley told Fox News. “The Congresswoman is following the science, and the House should do the same.”
UNITED STATES – JANUARY 4: Reps. Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, is seen during a group photo with freshmen members of the House Republican Conference on the House steps of the Capitol on Monday, January 4, 2021. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images)
The CDC issued new guidance last week saying that masks are not necessary for fully vaccinated people in most circumstances. While the White House followed by lifting its mask requirement, the House did not. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has relaxed mask guidance so that members could take their face covering off when they were recognized to speak on the floor.
Meanwhile, there is no mask rule in the Senate chamber.
Pelosi said previously that she estimates about 75% of the House member are fully vaccinated and there could be more lessening of the restrictions if more GOP members got the shots.
Some of the members that have been fiercely fighting against mask mandates have refused to say whether they are vaccinated, including Boebert, Greene and Roy, citing private medical information. If they have declined to get the shots, their stance of ignoring the mask policy would be in violation of current House rules, as well as CDC guidelines.
Boebert points to the state of Texas as an example to follow. President Biden previously admonished Texas, as well as Mississippi, at the beginning of March for relaxing lockdown measures, accusing state officials of “Neanderthal thinking.”
“Texas has been unmasked for two months without reporting a single COVID death,” Boebert said in a statement to Fox News. “Any city or state that is still forcing businesses to close or enforcing mask mandates is operating with ‘Neanderthal thinking.'”
GOP House members protesting the House’s ongoing mask mandate pose for a picture Tuesday outside the Capitol. (Fox News)
After House votes Tuesday, where some GOP members refused to wear masks, a number of them went outside to take a photo, none wearing masks.
“Best $500 I ever spent,” Massie said, seemingly referring to the $500 fine a House member can face for breaking the mask protocol.
Roy said it’s time for the “insanity to end.”
When asked by a reporter last week if she would update the House rules given the new CDC guidance, Pelosi gave a resounding “no” and questioned whether every member had been vaccinated.
Pelosi, D-Calif., said during a news conference on April 29 that Congress cannot require members to get vaccinated, and the names of those who have gotten the shots are privately held with the Capitol physician’s office. But she urged her fellow members to get vaccinated to protect themselves, their families and “to be good colleagues in the workplace.”
Greene, the controversial freshman rep from Georgia, said no one can force people to take “experimental” vaccinations and accused Pelosi of tyranny for mandating masks.
“If we don’t stand now against these tyrannical aggressions, then we will be forced to our knees and unable to stand later,” Greene tweeted.
Fox News’ Kelly Phares and Morgan Phillips contributed to this report.