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Tag: house mask mandate

McCarthy Weirdly Parrots QAnon Rhetoric: ’The Storm Is Coming’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

"The storm" is a term that the far-right conspiracy theorists of QAnon are fond of using, and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy used that term during a July 29 press conference when he was criticizing House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's support of a mask mandate for the U.S. House of Representatives.

The mandate came from Capitol Physician Brian Monahan, and Pelosi has said that she will "honor it." But McCarthy, obviously pandering to anti-masker extremists and coronavirus deniers in the MAGA movement, is vehemently opposed to the mandate. Monahan is calling for the House mask mandate in response to the COVID-19 surge that has been attacking the United States, especially in red states with low vaccination rates.

McCarthy, during his July 29 speech, was standing near Rep. Elise Stefanik — who chairs the House Republican Conference — when he said, "If you are vaccinated and you get the variant, there's .003 percent you'd go to the hospital. There's a greater chance you'd get hit by lighting. For some reason, Pelosi thinks the storm is coming."

The fact that McCarthy used a QAnon term was not lost on Vox's Aaron Rupar, who tweeted:

Pelosi expressed her frustration with McCarthy's anti-masker views when, on July 28, she told reporters, "He's such a moron."

House Republicans Explode As Capitol Police Enforce Masking Rules

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

House Republicans vehemently criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday after Capitol Police officials announced they would begin enforcing COVID-19 safety rules once again.

"In today's edition of Pelosi's abuse of power, Capitol Police have been directed to arrest staff and visitors to comply with her mask mandate for vaccinated individuals," Florida Rep. Kat Cammack tweeted.

"To be clear: Pelosi is directing police to ARREST vaccinated people who aren't wearing masks," added House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. "This isn't about science—it's about power and control."

Republican Conference Chair Elise Stefanik claimed in a separate tweet that Pelosi was an "authoritarian" for reissuing the mask directive, while Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs called it "insanity."

"Threatening arrest for not wearing a mask is unlawful and tyrannical!" he wrote.

Other Republican lawmakers dared the House Speaker to punish them for not complying.

"Nancy Pelosi has lost her damn mind, arresting staff and visitors for not wearing masks? This is the People's House, not her House," tweeted Florida Rep. Byron Donalds. "Let me make it easy for you, Speaker Pelosi, my office, and my visitors won't comply — have an issue with that? Come see me."

The barrage of complaints came after the Capitol Police issued a memo citing the new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance urging vaccinated and unvaccinated people to wear masks in public indoor settings to curb the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant, and a decision by Congress' attending physician to require mask use in the federal building.

The CDC made its determination based on new evidence that some fully vaccinated people may still contract and spread the Delta variant.

House rules, adopted by the majority of its members in accordance with the Constitution, already require face mask use in the chamber. That rule had been eased prior to the latest public health data for vaccinated members, but was tightened again after two GOP lawmakers announced they had contracted COVID-19 in the past two weeks (one had been fully vaccinated, the other had previously had the disease).

The Capitol Police memo stated that any "visitor or staff member" found not wearing a mask would be "denied entry to the House." If an unmasked individual continued trying to circumvent the rule, it read, they could be "subject to an arrest."

Many of the Republicans lashing out on Thursday have made efforts in the past to frame themselves as defenders of "law and order."

In a July 1 tweet, Stefanik branded herself "the North Country's Law & Order Candidate."

And in February, Biggs claimed only Republicans could be considered "the party of the Constitution, law and order, freedom, and smaller government."

On Wednesday, Republicans spent more than an hour of House time making repeated failed motions to adjourn the work day, in protest of the mask requirements. During a floor speech, Texas Rep. Chip Roy suggested that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down" over the reintroduced safety measures.

On Thursday, Rep. Nancy Mace (R-SC) said that she had directed staff to work from home over the requirements, tweeting, "No one should be arrested over a mask. We should follow the science not Speaker Pelosi."

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.

‘He’s Such A Moron’: Pelosi Exasperated By McCarthy’s Latest Anti-Mask Outburst

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

With the Delta variant of the COVID-19 coronavirus surging in the United States — especially in red states with large numbers of unvaccinated Americans — Capitol physician Brian Monahan is reinstituting a mask mandate for the U.S. House of Representatives. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is honoring that mandate, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, pandering to the GOP's MAGA base, is opposed. And when Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about McCarthy's opposition, she had some scathing words for the California congressman.

In Washington, D.C. on July 28, reporters asked Pelosi about the mask requirement as she was getting ready to enter an SUV. Pelosi told reporters, "That's the purview of the Capitol physician.... the mandate from him. I have nothing to say about that except we honor it."

NBC News reporter Frank Thorp told Pelosi, "Leader McCarthy says it's against the science" — and before getting into the vehicle, a frustrated Pelosi responded, "He's such a moron."

On July 27, McCarthy had tweeted, "Make no mistake — The threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state."

As Virus Surges, Republicans Throw ’Temper Tantrum’ On House Floor

Reprinted with permission from American Independent

Republican lawmakers repeatedly tried to adjourn the House of Representatives on Wednesday, preferring to head home rather than comply with new coronavirus safety measures.

On Wednesday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that "masks will be once again be required in the Hall of the House," for all members and staff, except while members are recognized to speak.

The change came due to an order from Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress' attending physician, deeming masks necessary to keep members and their employees safe.

It followed new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on Tuesday warning that the delta variant can be caught and transmitted by some fully vaccinated people and urging some face mask use in indoor public places, even among those who have been inoculated.

At 11:26 a.m., Texas Rep. Chip Roy made the first motion to adjourn. He had just completed an angry floor speech in which he argued that the "institution is a sham and we should adjourn and shut this place down," because the Democratic majority had reinstituted a mask requirement in response to the spread of the delta variant.

Colorado Rep. Lauren Boebert, a staunch opponent of COVID-19 safety measures, who reportedly threw a face mask at a House staffer who had urged her to comply with the rule earlier in the day, tweeted, "If the threat of the Biden Border variant is truly so dangerous in the U.S. House of Representatives, we should adjourn."

After 38 minutes of voting, Roy's motion failed — but 197 House Republicans backed his attempt to leave work for the rest of the day and head home.

At 1:31 p.m., Rep. Jody Hice (R-GA) proceeded to the floor and made another motion to adjourn. After a 34-minute vote, his motion too was defeated, 174-216.

Rep. Don Beyer (D-VA) described the motions in a tweet as a "mass temper tantrum over Covid guidance."

In total, more than an hour was wasted on the two motions, on a busy day when the House was considering funding bills for several branches of the federal government.

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) slammed the stunts, tweeting that the Republicans "want to go home instead of working for the people," and noting that "anyone else trying to leave work in the middle of [the] work day would be fired."

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA) mocked his GOP colleagues for throwing a "temper tantrum" just because representatives "were asked to do what the rest of the country has been asked to do: wear a mask."

The attempts to adjourn, rather than comply with COVID-19 safety requirements, are at odd with Republican leaders who accused the Democratic majority over a year ago of dereliction of duty for opting to let some members work from home, rather than coming to the Capitol during a pandemic.

"Across our nation, Americans of all stripes are making sacrifices and doing their part to defeat this virus — and they expect Washington to do the same," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois — the ranking member of the Committee on House Administration — and Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, the ranking member of the Committee on Rules, wrote in a May 2020 joint statement.

"Unfortunately, far from being 'captains of this ship' as Speaker Pelosi recently proclaimed, the Democrats' proposal calls for the House of Representatives to abandon ship — potentially for the remainder of the session," they claimed at the time.

In just the past 10 days, two House Republicans have announced that they have tested positive for COVID-19.

Florida Rep. Vern Buchanan said last Monday that he contracted the virus despite being fully vaccinated. Louisiana Rep. Clay Higgins revealed Sunday that he and his family also have COVID-19, even though they had it previously.

Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.