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#Vaccinated lawmakers no longer need masks on the House floor

#Vaccinated lawmakers no longer need masks on the House floor

Fully vaccinated members of the House of Representatives and their staffers won’t need to wear masks on the chamber floor or in committee rooms, the office of Congress’ attending physician announced Friday.

The updated guidance brings the body more in line with guidance issued last month by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stated that vaccinated Americans could ditch their masks in nearly all indoor and outdoor settings.

House members were previously required to wear a mask on the floor at all times, regardless of vaccination status, and could only remove them when recognized to speak. Violators were fined $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.

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Last month, a handful of House Republicans rebelled against the guidelines and went bare-faced in the House chamber after Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) declined to change the rules following the updated CDC guidance. One of the leaders of the rebellion, Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), described Pelosi’s rules to Fox News at the time as “somewhere between dog-and-pony show, smoke-and-mirrors, and pure manipulation.”

In May, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said masks were still required to be worn by House Members despite new CDC recommendations.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi previously stated masks were still required for House members despite new CDC recommendations, with violators fined between $500-$2,500.
AP

Other GOP lawmakers who went without masks on the floor included Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.). Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas), Greg Steube (R-Fla.) and Chip Roy (R-Texas).

“PELOSI CAVES. FREEDOM PREVAILS,” Mast tweeted in response to the updated guidance.

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“Excellent news!” agreed another rebel, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa). “I have been urging the House to lead by example and all fully vaccinated Members to go without masks since April. Great to see the House is FINALLY listening to the science.”

The rebellion culminated when House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) proposed a resolution to remove the mask requirement. The bid was blocked in a 218-210 party-line vote. Massie, Mast, Miller-Meeks, Taylor Greene, Van Duyne, and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) were ultimately docked $500 for their display.

A memo from Attending Physician Brian Monahan detailing the new guidance cites “continuous reduction of coronavirus community spread.” Monahan also said that face coverings would still be required for those who are not fully vaccinated and for “vaccination-indeterminate individuals.”

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The CDC reported that as of late Friday, 64.1 percent of American adults (more than 165 million people) had received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose. More than 138 million American adults (53.6 percent) were considered fully vaccinated.

No member of the House has reported a positive coronavirus test since late January.

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