COVID mask policy highlights bitter partisan divide among congressional lawmakers – fr

COVID mask policy highlights bitter partisan divide among congressional lawmakers – fr

Let’s start with a general premise on Capitol Hill: Members of Congress don’t like being told what to do.

But lawmakers agree to a certain set of rules – which MPs themselves vote on – for the functioning of the House and Senate. Many of these rules deal with how legislators behave, behave and respect the institution. Lawmakers can vote no or disagree with the rules.


These are the rules.

Article I, section 5 of the Constitution gives the House and the Senate the power to establish their own rules. For a short time, or almost indefinitely.

Lawmakers have periodically chosen one-on-one fights with the United States Capitol Police, vowed to protect order on Capitol Hill.

House of Commons Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California takes off her face mask to speak to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, May 19, 2021, about legislation to create an independent bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 attack on the United States. Capitol Complex.

The USCP generally gives great deference to lawmakers, especially when it comes to “back and forth”. Cops can prevent congressional staff or reporters from walking around the Capitol at various times. But article I, section 6 of the Constitution includes the clause “Speech or debate”. This provision essentially prevents lawmakers from “shutting down” when they are carrying out official congressional activities, such as voting. Or, more broadly, conduct at the Capitol to vote.


This is why there was a hubbub in March 2006 when former Rep. Cynthia McKinney, D-Ga., Hit a US Capitol police officer as she attempted to enter an office building at the House. . The officer did not recognize the congresswoman. But she didn’t stop for him.

Rep. Don Young, R-Ark., Did the same in July 2014. Authorities shut down the Capitol House wing one morning after maintenance workers inadvertently ripped asbestos from the Capitol ceiling. . Officers told Young that no one could enter the Capitol – including the members – until they assessed if there was a danger. But Young walked past the officers and entered the building.

“I don’t care if the building is closed,” Young said.

In short, you really can’t tell lawmakers to do anything. They will do what they are going to do.

The pandemic and the Capitol Riot sparked one of the most tumultuous periods in Congress since the Civil War. So, you can imagine the resistance among lawmakers in the early days of the pandemic when they were ordered to wear masks. And now some House Republicans want the House to ditch masks as the pandemic abates.

GOPers blame House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., For keeping a mask tenure on House floors.

“She craves power and she uses it to try and spank us doing things,” Rep. Ralph Norman, RS.C., complained on Fox of the President. “It’s just a tough tactic. “

Norman was one of six lawmakers fined $ 500 for not wearing a mask on the floor. If a member fails to mask themselves, the House arrests them again. $ 2,500 for a second offense.

Besides Norman, the House also called for representatives. Beth Van Duyne, R-Texas, Mariannette Miller-Meeks, R-Iowa, Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Thomas Massie, R-Ky., And Brian Mast, R -Fla., With fines of $ 500. House officials have tagged representatives. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., Chip Roy, R-Texas, Bob Good, R-Va., Mary Miller, R-Ill., Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and Marcy Kaptur, R-Ohio, with official warnings .

“They sent me my little envelope today saying, ‘Oh, you go. Here. You are fined. Here is your fine, “” Mast complained to Fox. “(Democrats) don’t care. They just want control. Whether through science. Whether by lying. Whether it’s hurting yourself and your wallet and trying to get you to comply. “

Republicans cannot adhere to the house mask rule. But the plenary chamber voted to demand masks on the floor. The same with a recent rule requiring members to go through metal detectors to enter the chamber of the House. MEPs also voted on this provision. The House is now fining Members of Parliament $ 5,000 if they do not go through metal detectors to reach the floor of the House.

Of course, Democrats hated the house rules that Republicans approved when they were running the show here. Several Republicans criticized then-Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving after the deceased civil rights icon, Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga., And Rep. John Larson, D-Conn., Led a sit -in 2016 on the ground in protest against gun violence. The Republicans were beside themselves that the Democrats would actually sit on the carpet in the House chamber well to make their point. Some GOP members implored Irving and his aides to arrest Lewis and others – precisely the Optical Democrats would love to get.

House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Called the sit-in “chaos” and feared it could set a “very dangerous precedent”.


In January 2017, the House approved a new set of rules for the 115th Congress. The set of rules included fines for MPs who could disrupt the House, for example during a sit-in. Lawmakers could also face penalties if they violate House protocol by broadcasting their own video feed from the ground or taking photos. Such was the rage during the sit-in. Members would first receive a warning. Then face a fine of $ 500. Finally, the House would impose a fine of $ 2,500 for additional offenses.

Democrats have cried foul.

Seems familiar?

The difference is that Democrats imposed the mask rule since they are now in the majority and Republicans I do not like it. And Republicans imposed the sit-in rule when they ran the House and Democrats objected while in the minority.

Welcome to Congress.

Capitol Hill attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan clarified the House mask guidelines in a statement to the congressional community last week. Monahan reiterated a House rule that requires members to hide on the floor unless they speak.

According to Pelosi, these are vaccinations.

“We have a responsibility to make sure the House of Representatives chamber is not a petri dish due to the selfishness of some not to be vaccinated,” Pelosi said. ” What is that? The honor system? The honor system for knowing if someone has been vaccinated? Do you want them to breathe your face on the strength of their honor? “

Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., At the Capitol in Washington, Thursday, May 13, 2021.

The House blocked a resolution by Minority House Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., To lift the floor mask rule last week. McCarthy argues that the House’s mandate is “contrary to the latest CDC guidelines.”

“Apparently, COVID works differently in the two chambers. Because in the Senate, you don’t wear a mask. In the House, you must wear a mask. The only difference is the Speaker. She doesn’t want to abide by the CDC rules, ”McCarthy alleged.


But Monahan says the policy “is fully consistent with the Centers for Disease Control’s dominant mask guidelines” and reviewed by CDC experts.

“The attending physician said until everyone is vaccinated, we wear masks,” Pelosi said.

This prompted some Republicans to question Monahan’s independence.

I’d like to see an organizational chart that Dr. Monahan responds to, ”said Rep. Bruce Westerman, R-Ark., The Row Republican on the House Natural Resources Committee. It seems his post mimics everything (Pelosi’s) post is. “

Monahan was the attending physician of the House and Senate for 12 years, under the control of the GOP and the Democratic Party of the House and Senate.


Senator John Kennedy, R-La., Is vaccinated. He recently pressed CDC director Rochelle Walensky at a Senate hearing about whether he could walk from the Senate side of the Capitol to the House side – without a mask.

Walensky responded that mask policies are a “local” decision.

It is said that all politics are local. And that’s the difference between House rules and Senate rules.

But, just like in cities and states, not everyone follows the rules.


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