Pelosi makes mask wearing mandatory for anyone on the House floor
She said she expects everyone to “adhere to this requirement as a sign of respect for the health, safety and well-being of others present in the chamber and surrounding areas.”
Masks will be available for any member who forgets theirs, Pelosi said, adding that failure to comply will be viewed as “a serious breach of decorum” that could result in the lawmaker being removed from the chamber floor.
Pelosi is considering other measures to more strictly enforce the wearing of masks across the Capitol complex, according to a Democratic official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss a private discussion. Masks are already required in committee hearings, where lawmakers sit physically distanced and must have a mask on unless it is their turn to speak.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) revealed Wednesday that he’d tested positive for the coronavirus shortly before he was expected to travel on Air Force One with President Trump to his home state. Gohmert has been part of a contingent of a couple dozen House Republicans who often do not wear masks around the Capitol.
On Tuesday, Gohmert walked to the House Judiciary Committee’s hearing with Attorney General William P. Barr. Neither man was wearing a mask.
Gohmert’s case reignited a debate on Capitol Hill about whether lawmakers traveling from around the country should be tested when they return to Washington. In the spring, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) jointly rejected an offer from the Trump administration to use the kind of rapid response tests it has, saying the limited capacity of those tests should be reserved for essential workers and others in more dire circumstances.
But with the coronavirus surging in many states this summer, there is a renewed push by Republicans and Democrats to have more regular testing of lawmakers.