Nancy Pelosi slammed for refusing to ease mask rules on House floor: 'A common cold could take her out'

CDC now says vaccinated people need not wear masks indoors, but Pelosi confirms it won't amend rules in Congress forcing members to be masked except when speaking


                            Nancy Pelosi slammed for refusing to ease mask rules on House floor: 'A common cold could take her out'
Nancy Pelosi wears a cloth mask during her weekly news conference at the US Capitol April 30, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)
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House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said she won't be amending mask rules in Congress, despite a change in guidelines by the CDC. The CDC announced that fully vaccinated people will no longer need to mask up indoors or maintain social distancing, but Pelosi has chosen not to follow those guidelines in favor of the current arrangement.

As of now, all members of the House and staff are required to have their masks on at all times, except when speaking on the floor. The rules, despite being widely decried by Republicans, have mostly been followed since they were introduced. A large number of House members have also been vaccinated, which means that technically, they can follow the CDC's new guidelines. Pelosi, has, however, put her foot down. 

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Wearing a face mask, Nancy Pelosi holds her weekly news conference in the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center January 28, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

The main reason Pelosi seems to have an objection to the new guidelines has to do with the prominent anti-vaxxers in the House. Man Raju, CNN's Chief Congressional Correspondent managed to obtain a quick reaction from Pelosi. He tweeted on Friday, May 14, "Speaker Nancy Pelosi told me “no” she isn’t changing the rule requiring masks on the House floor. “No,” Pelosi said. “Are they all vaccinated?”

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Raju followed this up with another tweet confirming that there would be no changes in the rules inside the House. Capitol Attending Physician Brian Monahan also issued a memo on the matter, saying that the "mask requirement would “remain unchanged until all members and floor staff are fully vaccinated.” According to the New York Post, "the new CDC guidance does apply in House office buildings and all other areas." 

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Multiple Republican House members, like Lauren Boebart and Marjorie Taylor Greene, have long decried the need to get vaccinated. Since vaccines aren't mandatory, there is no need for representatives to get their shots, but Pelosi can enforce the mask mandate as Speaker.

A sign advises that masks are required to enter a hearing of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee on at the Capitol Building June 24, 2020 in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

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Republicans hit back, slam Pelosi

The ruling has been met with massive backlash by members, who clearly aren't happy. Rep Bob Gibbs (R-OH) issued a statement saying, "Political leaders should be setting an example for getting back to normal, not cowering in fear in defiance of common sense. It’s time to end the House’s mask mandate and staggered voting. The House of Representatives is filled with enough political drama. The last thing we should be doing is contributing to vaccine hesitancy with the same Mask-erpiece Theater Congress engaged in during Biden’s address to the joint session."

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Rep Byron Donalds (R-Fla) appeared on Fox News and said, "Most members have either been vaccinated or they have antibodies. This is a dumb rule to have." Rep. Brian Mast (R-FLa) tweeted, " It's not about science. It's all about power."

It's not just House members though, others have also slammed Pelosi, taking to Twitter to voice their displeasure. 

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U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) with her "Trump Won" face mask pulled down during the new year's opening session on January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC.  (Getty Images)

 

"Of course. She hasn’t followed common sense, why would she listen to the CDC?" asked one user. Another slammed her and said, "I don’t blame Pelosi for being a mask freak. She’s 80 years old and frail and her liver is shredded due to decades of vodka lunches. The common cold could take her out."

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Another replied, "Oh of course she spent alotta $$ on all color coordinated omar tent covers she has to get her moneys worth out of them!!!!!" Rep. Markwayne Mullin (R-OK) tweeted, "I'm glad to see that @CDCgov is finally accepting the science. The #COVID19 vaccine is safe and effective, and #OperationWarpSpeed is getting our nation back on track. @SpeakerPelosi must repeal the House floor mask mandate effective immediately and restore normalcy."

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In January 2021, Democrats voted to issue fines to all House members who didn't comply with the mask mandate, fining them $500 for the first offense and $2,500 for the second. The Senate meanwhile, doesn't have such a strict mask mandate. Back in March, Pelosi estimated around 75% of House members were fully vaccinated, but she refused to return to pre-pandemic regulations until that number went up. 

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