WASHINGTON — Members of the House of Representatives have to wear a mask inside the chamber, and now, if they don’t, they could likely face a fine.
Three representatives have tested positive for COVID-19 recently, and all three suggest they were likely infected while sheltering in place during the January 6 violent riots at the Capitol.
Bonnie Watson Coleman, Pramila Jayapal and Brad Schneider all announced positive COVID-19 diagnoses in the last 24 hours. They said they were sheltering in rooms with lawmakers who refused to wear masks.
“Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask, as demonstrated in video from Punchbowl News, even when politely asked by their colleagues,” said Schneider. “Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff.”
Jayapal accused her GOP colleagues who don’t wear masks of endangering everyone around them.
“Only hours after President Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, our country, and our democracy, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a super spreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack,” said Jayapal.
The rule imposing the fine will be included in a procedural vote Tuesday night. The vote was already scheduled to call on Vice President Mike Pence to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove President Donald Trump from office.
If the rule is approved, which it very likely will according to multiple reports, it would be a $500 fine for a first offense of not wearing a mask, and $2,500 for a second offense. The fines will be deducted from a representative’s paycheck.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi already required members to wear masks on the House floor, and in December, she prohibited members from speaking on the floor if they were not wearing a mask.
So far, 58 members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19, according to HuffPost.