Politics Republicans fined $500 for not wearing face masks on House floor
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Some House Republicans flaunted the rule to wear face masks on the chamber floor and three of them racked up $500 fines in the process.
'Best $500 I ever spent,' Republican Rep. Brian Mast told. He refused to put his mask on even after a member of the House Sergeant at Arms' office approached him on the chamber floor Tuesday evening, in full view of C-SPAN's camera, and asked him to wear one.
Mast was one of severallawmakers seen on the House floor without a face covering as part of the protest of the rule after the issued its new mask guidelines. require lawmakers to wear a face mask unless addressing the chamber.
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Conservative Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene and three other Republican lawmakers took a selfie of themselves standing in the well of the House, bare faced, and tagging it with the hashtag #freeyourface
'Proud to join these Patriots for a peaceful protest on the House floor against mask mandates!,' Greene tweeted with the pic.
'Enough is enough! #FreeYourFace,' wrote Republican Rep. Mary Miller, who was in the selfie, on Twitter.
'5 Republican women and 5 Republican men are now maskless on the floor,' tweeted GOP Rep. Tom Massie on Tuesday night. He was also in Greene's selfie and organized Tuesday night's protest.
Additionally, House GOP Leader Kevin McCarthy will offer a privileged resolution on Wednesday that would loosen the face mask requirement. The Democratically-controlled chamber is expected to table it, however.
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Speaker Nancy Pelosi made it clear on Wednesday she has had enough.
'Members and staff are currently required to wear masks at all times in the halls of the House except when a member has been recognized by the chair, or when a member acting as chair is speaking,' she said when she opened the chamber on Wednesday morning.
She pointed out the mask rules are in accordance with CDC guidelines and said she 'expects members to conduct themselves in appropriate decorum in the House chamber at all time.'
Pelosi has said the mask rule will stay in place until 100% of lawmakers are vaccinated. The Office of the Attending Physician has said about 75% are currently vaccinated.
The new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fully vaccinated people don't have to wear masks outdoors or indoors, except for certain crowded settings like planes, airports, ect.
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After their anti-mask crusade, the Republican lawmakers gathered outside on the steps of the Capitol to celebrate their rebellion. None of them would tell NBC News if they had been vaccinated or not.
Democratic Rep. Jahana Hayes and Mast then got into an exchange about masks while out there.
'If you choose not to wear a mask, if you choose to disrespect the floor staff, if you choose to give them a hard time, that's on you,' Hayes told Mast, according to a reporter fromwho witnessed the exchange.
'It's definitely on us if we choose not to wear a mask. I'm glad we agree,' Mast replied.
Three GOP lawmakers were slapped with a $500 fine after ignoring previous warnings about masks: Mast, Beth Van Duyne and Mariannette Miller-Meeks.
'I have been fined $500 by @SpeakerPelosi for following CDC guidance. This was never about science. It has always been about power,' Mast tweeted.
'The CDC scientists have made it CLEAR if you are fully vaccinated you no longer have to wear a mask,' he noted.
Seven other Republicans were issued formal warnings and will face $500 fines if they refuse to wear masks again: Greene, Massie, Miller, Lauren Boebert, Chip Roy Bob Good, and Louie Gohmert.
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Social media users have shared the misleading claim that updated CDC guidelines for vaccinated people prove the agency somehow lied. This is false."Anyone who is fully vaccinated can participate in indoor and outdoor activities, large or small, without wearing a mask or physical distancing,'' CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said during a White House briefing that day. "If you are fully vaccinated, you can start doing the things that you had stopped doing because of the pandemic.
Any subsequent offenses would result in fines of $2,500 each.
Tensions have risen between lawmakers on the mask issue. Other Democrats confronted their colleagues from across the aisle.
Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin approached several of the GOP lawmakers on the House floor and toldhe 'got into it' with them, telling them they were 'doing the House a disservice and the country a disservice' and that 'if all of us got vaccinated, we could all take our masks off.'
Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have a 100% vaccination rate against Covid-19, aof Capitol Hill found last week. For Republicans, at least 44.8% of House members are vaccinated and at least 92% of senators are.
CNN noted that 111 Republican offices didn't respond to its survey.
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A Facebook post claims there have only been 2,300 influenza cases this flu season. This is missing context."I just want to point out that all this 'useless mask usage and hand-washing' have also given us the lowest number of flu cases ever recorded," said Twitter user Tennesseine in a May 14 tweet shared to Facebook on May 19.