On the advice of the congressional physician, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) reinstated a mask mandate for all House lawmakers and staff members on Wednesday. The move comes amid rising cases connected to the delta variant of the coronavirus.
The result has been a blow-up by House Republicans, with members erupting in fighting and yelling.
Rep. Chip Roy (R-Texas) tried, unsuccessfully, to get the House to adjourn for the day on Wednesday because he didn’t want to wear a mask.
“We have a crisis at our border and we are playing footsie with mask mandates in the people’s house. It’s absolutely absurd what this body is doing, the people’s house. It’s an embarrassment. It’s a mockery. And the American people are fed up,” Roy said in an impassioned floor speech.
“This institution is a sham. We should adjourn and shut this place down,” he concluded. Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene (R-Ga.) ― who compared an earlier House mask mandate to the Holocaust ― stood up behind him and applauded.
(After this week, the House is not scheduled to be back for legislative work until Sept. 20 anyway.)
An unmasked Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) reportedly threw a mask back at a House floor staffer who gave her one on Wednesday.
“Americans should not succumb to the bully tactics from extreme leftists. If Members of Congress cede our freedoms here, what hope is there for the people we represent?” Boebert said in a statement to HuffPost after the incident, which she also tweeted about.
Reps. Jared Huffman (D-Calif.) and Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) yelled at each other outside the floor, with Huffman upset that Donalds was refusing to wear a mask.
“Don’t be worried about me! Mind your business!” Donalds replied, according to CNN.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (D-Calif.) also bristled at the reimposed mask mandate. Late on Tuesday, he tweeted that the “threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science.”
“If she’s so brilliant, can she explain to me where the science in the building changes between the House and the Senate,” he told reporters Wednesday.
“He’s such a moron,” Pelosi replied to reporters after an event.
Pelosi’s mandate came after Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, issued new recommendations Tuesday night, saying that all lawmakers and staff ― regardless of vaccination status ― must wear a “well-fitted, medical grade, filtration face mask” while in House buildings.
As of mid-May, every single Democrat in Congress is vaccinated, according to a survey by CNN. A large portion of Republicans, however, either are not vaccinated or refuse to give their status.
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