House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is laying down the law: Wear your mask or shut up.
The powerful Democrat said Thursday that lawmakers will not be allowed to speak in the House of Representatives if they do not wear protective face masks.
“Masks will now be required at all times … without exception,” Pelosi said. “Recognition will be withdrawn if they remove the mask while speaking.”
Pelosi had already ordered mask use in Congress over the summer as the coronavirus pandemic spread. But some Republicans resisted the edict and repeatedly violated the rules, especially when they are speaking.
So far, the dispute has not spiraled out of control and no member has been ordered out of the chamber for failing to wear a mask.
Democrats say they are simply mandating common sense health precautions. But GOP members, many of them strong supporters of President Trump, accuse Democrats of seeking to score political points and “virtue-signaling” to liberal supporters.
A spat recently erupted in the usually genteel Senate when Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) demanded that Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-Ala.) don a face covering while presiding over the chamber. Sullivan angrily rejected the request, adding that he didn’t need any health advice from a colleague.
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