Throughout much of the COVID-19 pandemic, medical experts have advised wearing a face mask when in public to decrease the spread of the virus.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) doubled down on her support for such measures by mandating that the only way her colleagues will be recognized in the chamber is if their faces are properly covered, as reported by Fox News.
“In the halls of the House”
Of course, the new rule was not her first effort to force fellow lawmakers to mask up while on Capitol Hill.
In July, Pelosi reacted to news that Rep. Louis Gohmert (R-TX) had tested positive for the coronavirus by declaring a mask mandate from the House floor.
“Members and staff will be required to wear masks in the halls of the House,” she said at the time.
Her latest move comes as statistics report more than 300,000 Americans have died as a result of contracting COVID-19.
While legislators are already required to wear masks within the U.S. Capitol building, Pelosi’s addendum to that existing rule requires that House members wear a mask while speaking in order to be recognized.
“If they remove the mask while speaking”
“Members will not be recognized unless they are wearing a mask and recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking,” Pelosi said Tuesday.
She went on to note that the “chair appreciates the continued attention of all members and staff to these principles.”
A number of GOP lawmakers have refused to wear a mask while speaking on the House floor even after Pelosi’s previous decree. At least one incoming member of Congress — Rep.-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) — is already protesting the latest mandate, tweeting that the rule is “an oppressive violation” of her rights.
Somewhat ironically, Pelosi was among the first high-profile Democrats caught in apparent violation of COVID-19 lockdown orders when video evidence surfaced of her now-infamous visit to a hair salon that had been closed to the public.
Despite the Republican outcry, Congressional Institute explains that the House speaker has the authority to set the “proper attire” for the lower chamber, apparently allowing her to make such a sweeping rule regarding face masks.