Republicans go maskless to protest mandate in House chamber after CDC changes guidelines


WASHINGTON (NewsNation Now) — There’s growing tension in the House of Representatives, where it’s still mandatory to wear a mask in the House chamber while face covering rules in the Capitol complex at large have eased.

A group of Republicans has been breaking the mask mandate in protest, even posting maskless selfies from the House chamber, and publicly paying the $500 fine that comes with breaking the rule.

Congressman Brian Mast (R-Michigan) called it the, “best 500 I’ve ever spent.”

Guidelines for mask wearing are issued by the Attending Physician of the United States Congress, who said the mandate remains in place because lawmakers and staff are potentially unvaccinated. 

Under the latest guidance: “The present mask requirement and other guidelines remain unchanged until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated,” according to the House website.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-California) introduced a resolution to end the mask mandate Wednesday night which failed. McCarthy later criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-California), saying she “doesn’t want to abide by the CDC rules.”  

“Apparently Covid works differently in both chambers, because in the Senate you don’t wear a mask. In the House you have to wear a mask. The only difference is the Speaker,” McCarthy said. 

The attending physician said the guidance is consistent with the CDC guidelines and rules differ between the House and Senate because the House is a much larger body both in members and staff.

Pelosi said Thursday she’s only enforcing guidelines set out by the attending physician, while taking some shots at members who refuse to follow them.

“The honor system as to whether somebody’s been vaccinated, do you want them breathing in your face on the strength of their honor?” Pelosi said.

Pelosi said she’ll continue to enforce the mask mandate unless every House member is vaccinated or until the attending physician changes the guidelines.

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