Spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi, D-California, is seen following her weekly press conference at the Capitol Visitor Center on Thursday, February 11, 2021.
Tom Williams | CQ Roll Call, Inc. | Getty Images
House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday criticized Republican minority leader Kevin McCarthy for criticizing the decision to reintroduce masking requirements in the House of Representatives after the Capitol doctor recommended it over concerns about the rapidly expanding Delta variant.
Pelosi reportedly referred to McCarthy as “such an idiot” for speaking out against the reintroduction of mask mandates. House spokesman’s deputy chief of staff Drew Hammill said he couldn’t check if she named the Republican minority leader because of poor audio quality.
However, Hammill confirmed that Pelosi considers the rejection of mask requirements to be scientifically contradicting “idiotic”.
McCarthy voiced criticism of the mandate late Tuesday after the Capitol’s doctor recommended that Congressmen return to wearing masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
“Make no mistake – the threat to bring masks back is not a science-based decision, but a decision by liberal government officials who want to continue living in an eternal pandemic state,” McCarthy tweeted.
When asked for Pelosi’s comment, McCarthy asked the House spokesman to explain the science behind the mask mandate.
“If she’s that brilliant, she can tell me where science is changing in the building between the House of Representatives and the Senate,” McCarthy told reporters.
“Can she explain to me when the CDC says that only vaccinated people must wear a mask in hotspots? Can she explain to me if DC is a hotspot if everyone else makes it clear that this is no more than 86 percent of the vaccinations? “Can she explain to me that there is less than 1 percent infected there? So a lot of questions,” he continued.
The CDC partially lifted its mask guidelines on Tuesday, recommending that people in areas with high Covid transmission rates return to wearing masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status.
The extent of the virus transmission in the DC community is “moderate” according to the CDC’s data tracker, which is updated daily. The Capitol’s doctor, Dr. Brian Monahan, however, said masking requirements were required again as some people in Congress travel to areas with high transmission rates.
McCarthy tweeted on Pelosi late Wednesday.
“Speaker Pelosi wants you to do what she says, not how she does it. You and President Biden are doing everything possible to keep you in fear with your mask, even if you have been vaccinated, ”McCarthy tweeted.
U.S. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) arrives for an event to celebrate the 31st Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) at the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, USA, on July 26, 2021.
Evelyn Hockstein | Reuters
The tensions surrounding the mask mandate also boiled over in plenary on Wednesday.
The House votes to adjourn the day, a motion by GOP Representative Chip Roy of Texas, to protest the House’s compliance with the mask requirement.
In a speech, Roy asked why people have to wear masks when they have been vaccinated.
“I want Dr. Fauci comes down and answers a single question about natural immunity. If you got infected with the virus, do you have immunity? “Roy said in a speech to the House of Representatives on Wednesday.
“Oh but sorry, the vaccine is not working, you have to wear a mask. This facility is a sham. We should adjourn and close this place. “
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The CDC changed its mask policy for vaccinated people due to growing concerns about the rapidly spreading Delta variant, which has become the dominant strain worldwide, including the United States. Although vaccines are still highly effective in preventing serious illness and death from Covid, there is growing evidence that people who have been vaccinated can still pass the virus on to others.
“This is serious nanny state stuff that will only stir up resentments. No kidding. Bear in mind that resentment is compounded here on the floor of the House of Representatives,” Roy said. “We are absolutely fed up with it. The American people too. This bogus institution does nothing for the American people.
Several other GOP officials opposed the request, including Andy Biggs from Arizona, Lauren Boebert from Colorado, and Marjorie Taylor Greene from Georgia.
On Tuesday, Greene and two other Republican officials filed a lawsuit accusing Pelosi of breaking the Constitution when their paychecks were docked for refusing to wear masks in the House of Representatives earlier this year. Greene, Thomas Massie, from Kentucky, and Ralph Norman, from South Carolina, were each fined $ 500 for refusing to obey the rules mandated by masks on the floor of the house.
Late Wednesday, House Republicans met with the Capitol Doctor to discuss the reimposing of the Masked Mandate in the House of Representatives.
Several GOP lawmakers criticized the CDC’s updated mask guidelines, claiming it was based on unpublished data and a study from India that included people who were given a vaccine that was not approved in the United States. The Delta variant was first discovered in India.
“If this is based on very credible evidence that we could look at and understand, that would be a different scenario, but it’s not,” Michigan GOP Representative Peter Meijer told reporters after the meeting. “Unpublished studies and one more from India are of no importance.”
However, according to the Associated Press, the CDC’s decision was also based on sample data from several states. While some of the data is unpublished and unpublished, CDC director Rochelle Walensky said “it’s worrying enough that we feel we need to act,” according to the Associated Press.
Roy and other GOP lawmakers also expressed frustration with Monahan’s decision to follow CDC guidelines.
“The Capitol Doctor shouldn’t have followed unpublished reports from the CDC to make such an important decision that the American people see their people – House representatives – being told to wear masks, which in the light entirely seems unnecessary. ” where we are now, “Roy told reporters.
In line with updated CDC guidelines, President Joe Biden and White House officials announced Tuesday that they would return to wearing masks indoors when traveling to areas of the United States with high rates of Covid transmission. Biden also encouraged Americans to do the same.
“I hope all Americans living in the areas covered by the CDC guidelines will follow them; I will definitely do it when I travel to these areas, ”Biden said in a statement following the updated guidelines.
Biden is also expected to announce this week that his government will require federal employees to be vaccinated, NBC News reported Wednesday, or they will undergo rigorous testing.
The president said Tuesday that vaccine needs are “being considered”.
The Biden administration had previously advised federal agencies not to require a vaccine mandate for field work.
But the Department of Veterans Affairs announced Monday that it would order its health care workers to get vaccinated, making it the first federal agency to do so.