Although the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has announced a major lifting of many mask mandates across the country, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has decided to defy their guidance and keep the mask requirement in place for her chamber of Congress, the New York Post reports.
Yesterday, the CDC formally announced that anyone who has taken the vaccine will no longer be required to wear a mask or socially distance in almost any circumstances, either outside or indoors, and may “resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.”
However, Pelosi told CNN that she plans to keep the mask mandate for the House of Representatives chamber, without providing any justification for the decision. When asked by CNN’s Manu Raju, she simply responded “No, are they all vaccinated?”
The Capitol’s Attending Physician, Brian Monahan, later clarified Pelosi’s decision in a memo, saying that while the mask mandate would remain for the actual House chamber itself (with the exception of a member speaking during debate), the CDC’s new guidance would apply to House office buildings and any other areas of the Capitol complex. The House chamber rule, Monahan said, would remain in effect “until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated.”
Republicans were quick to criticize Pelosi’s irrational decision. Congressman Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio) accused Pelosi of “cowering in fear and defiance of common sense.” Congressman Byron Donalds (R-Fla.) simply said that “this is a dumb rule to have,” while House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) called for Pelosi to “just return to sanity.”
In an interview with Laura Ingraham, Scalise added: “She wants to control the House. She wants to keep the public out of the people’s House…the American people are done with all these shut-ins. They want to see their government in action.”