Politics 19 House Democrats call on Capitol physician to mandate vaccines
Capitol police testimony blunts GOP's law-and-order message
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Republican Party's self-portrayal as champions of law and order collided with searing testimony Tuesday from police officers themselves. Officers described in vivid, personal terms the terror of defending the U.S. Capitol from violent Trump-inspired insurrectionists on Jan. 6. Will it matter in next year's elections? Heading into the 2022 midterms, the GOP is seeking political advantage in Americans' concern about risingWill it matter in next year's elections?
A group of 19 House Democrats is calling on the Capitol physician to start mandating that lawmakers and staff on Capitol Hill be vaccinated against COVID-19 or be subject to testing at least twice per week.
In ato the Capitol physician released on Wednesday, the Democratic lawmakers argued that "unique factors," such as the frequent travel among members of Congress who hail from all corners of the country, make people who work in the Capitol complex more at risk of exposure to COVID-19.
"In addition to being Members of Congress who walk these halls and rely on your guidance to keep our workplace safe, we are also the managers of teams of dedicated staff members, some of whom are immunocompromised or have other health issues that leave them extraordinarily vulnerable to COVID-19. We feel the utmost responsibility to prioritize the safety of our staff, just as any employer should feel towards those who report to them," the Democrats, led by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (Mo.), wrote in the letter to Brian Monahan, the attending physician.
Capitol attack hearing: 'Kill him,' racial slurs and more
WASHINGTON (AP) — During emotional, tense and sometimes angry testimony, four police officers who defended the Capitol on Jan. 6 vividly recalled the violence they endured while fighting against a mob of Donald Trump's supporters. “I was grabbed, beaten, Tased, all while being called a traitor to my country,” said Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone at the first hearing Tuesday of the new House investigation into the insurrection. The“I was grabbed, beaten, Tased, all while being called a traitor to my country,” said Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone at the first hearing Tuesday of the new House investigation into the insurrection.
"To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Capitol Hill must do everything possible to lead by example and ensure the safety of our own workforce," the lawmakers wrote.
The Democrats added that vaccine exemptions could be granted to people due to religious beliefs or health conditions that prevent them from taking the vaccine, as long as those individuals are tested for the virus regularly.
"In these cases, or cases in which individuals are unable to, or choose not to, share proof of vaccination, we believe it is reasonable. to institute regular testing requirements of at least twice per week," they wrote.
All Democrats in the House and Senate have publicly confirmed they are vaccinated, according to a recent CNN. But, in a reflection of the largely GOP-leaning parts of the country with low vaccine uptake, nearly half of House Republicans have declined to say if they are vaccinated or have openly confirmed that they have no intention of getting the vaccine.
Tempers flare as some in GOP ignore new House mask mandate
Several GOP lawmakers refused to comply with the newly reinstated mask requirement on the House side of the Capitol on Wednesday, putting themselves at risk of having to pay hefty fines as punishment.More than half a dozen Republicans refused to wear masks on the House floor, including Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Lauren Boebert (Colo.), Matt Gaetz (Fla.), Chip Roy (Texas), Andy Biggs (Ariz.), Mary Miller (Ill.) and Andrew Clyde (Ga.). Most of the 211 House Republicans did comply with wearing masks on the House floor after the Capitol physician announced late Tuesday night that they would once again be mandatory amid spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19.
The Capitol physician reinstated a mask mandate on the House side of the Capitol complex last week amid spread of the highly contagious delta variant and a handful of breakthrough cases among fully vaccinated lawmakers and staff.
The return of the mask requirement drew outcry from Republicans, who questioned why it was being reinstated on the House side but that masks were still only "recommended" in the Senate. All but four senators are vaccinated, according to CNN's survey.
Several Republicans refused to comply with wearing masks on the House floor last week following the Capitol physician's announcement. At least one GOP lawmaker, Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.), subsequently wasa $500 fine by the House sergeant-at-arms for flouting the rules.
On Monday, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said he had tested positive for the coronavirus. Graham was vaccinated and urged others to do so, saying he believed his case was less severe because of his vaccination.
House at war over Jan. 6 inquiry, mask mandate
House Republicans and Democrats are at each other's throats over two explosive issues - the Capitol insurrection and a new mask mandate - that have collided this week in a perfect storm of partisan hostility.The tensions have simmered with fluctuating ferocity since the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, but they're spilling over now - just days before the long August recess - with the arrival of the special investigation into the Capitol siege, which launched Tuesday, and the spike in coronavirus cases, which prompted new health restrictions for the lower chamber.
Any vaccine requirement on Capitol Hill would likely face more resistance from Republicans, who have largely been critical of the vaccine mandates that some businesses and governments have begun imposing on employees in recent weeks to combat the spread of the delta variant.
President Bidenlast week that federal workers would have to provide proof of vaccination or else comply with mandatory masking, distancing and weekly testing requirements.
And on Tuesday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasiothat people will be required to provide proof of vaccination in order to participate in activities such as indoor dining at restaurants, gyms and movie theaters.
Recall Candidates Push Back on Gavin Newsom's COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate for Teachers .
The California Democratic governor announced the mandate during a news conference held at a school in Oakland Wednesday morning.Newsom announced the new mandate Wednesday morning at a school in Oakland alongside local leaders and school officials. The governor said teachers and school staff members will be required to either provide proof of their vaccination against COVID-19 or be tested weekly as the fall semester begins amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.