Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced the House will pass language tonight that will impose fines up to $2,500 for lawmakers who refuse to wear masks on the House floor.
The language, which lawmakers will vote on Tuesday, would find lawmakers $500 the first time they refuse to wear a mask in the House chamber and $2,500 for the second offense. Fines will be garnished from the offending lawmaker’s paycheck.
The move comes weeks after Pelosi, a California Democrat, announced a mask requirement in the House chamber and after several House Democrats contracted Covid after sheltering with maskless Republican lawmakers during the Jan. 6 siege of the Capitol. It’s not clear how they contracted the virus. On Jan. 3, Rep. Gwen Moore, a Wisconsin Democrat, sat on the House floor for an extended period of time despite a Covid diagnosis just a few days earlier. She was wearing a mask.
According to a senior Democratic aide, the House Office Building Commission will “immediately consider implementing,” the fine system in House office buildings, where hearings and other business are conducted.
Dozens of staff and lawmakers have contracted Covid since the pandemic began.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, was among the Democrat who has been diagnosed with Covid since huddling with the mask-less GOP lawmakers during the attack on the Capitol.
“Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy,” she tweeted Monday. “I’m calling for every single Member who refuses to wear a mask in the Capitol to be fined and removed from the floor by the Sergeant at Arms.”