House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) announced Wednesday, July 29, that masks will be required in the House chamber.
“Members and staff will be required to wear masks at all times in the hall of the House. The chair expects all members and staff to adhere to this requirement as an item of respect. Members and staff will not be permitted to enter the hall of the House without wearing a mask. The speaker views the failure to wear the mask as a serious breach of decorum,” Pelosi said from the House floor, reported the Fox News.
Pelosi warned that lawmakers and staff without masks will risk removal by the sergeant at arms if they don’t comply.
Pelosi’s requirement came after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) tested positive for the CCP Virus (coronavirus). Gohmert was supposed to fly to Texas with President Donald Trump and has to miss the trip due to the diagnosis during a screening at the White House.
Following the diagnosis, Gohmert suspected that he contracted the virus after wearing a face mask.
“I do not know about everybody but, when I have a mask on, I am moving it to make it comfortable,” he said in a Twitter video. “I cannot help but wonder if that puts some germs in the mask. Keep the hands off your mask but anyway who knows?”
After an encounter with Gohmert during a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday, Attorney General William Barr had to undergo CCP Virus testing. Justice Department spokeswoman Kerri Kupec announced Wednesday that the attorney general tested negative for the virus, according to Fox News.
The mask mandate on the House floor boils the already-intense atmosphere on the Capitol Hill as lawmakers are struggling to negotiate a fourth CCP Virus relief package amid a soon-expiring July 31 deadline for the boosted unemployment benefits.
Republicans released their $1 trillion coronavirus relief package, the HEALS Act on Monday, while Democrats are backing the HEROES Act $3 trillion bill passed by the House in May. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said the Republican proposal is an attempt to counter the “multitrillion-dollar socialist manifesto” of Democrats.
“It’s like a giraffe and a flamingo,” said Pelosi in a meeting on Tuesday, reported Politico, citing people at the meeting. “They’re both at a zoo. A dumb person may think they could mate for offspring. A smart person knows that’s impossible. That’s our bills. They’re unable to mate.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) also reportedly compared the Democratic bill and Republican proposal to dogs, “A golden retriever can’t mate with a Chihuahua. You have a Chihuahua. We have a beautiful lion,” he said.