Democrats have proposed a $1,000 a day fine on lawmakers who refuse to wear masks while in the Capitol complex, a move that comes after a third lawmaker tested positive for COVID in the wake of last week’s lockdown with Republicans who refused to wear face coverings.
Rep. Debbie Dingell is leading the charge on the issue and would be the onus on the House Ethics Committee to determine that ‘any Member, Delegate or Resident Commissioner’ is in violation, and, if so the committee ‘shall fine such individual $1,000 for each day that such violation occurs.’
‘It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,’ the Michigan Democrat said in a statement to The Washington Post. ‘Days ago, a colleague of ours died from this virus and left behind a beautiful, young family to mourn his loss. Yet still, in the midst of a deadly assault on our United States Capitol, a number of our Republican colleagues laughed off rules designed to keep not just their colleagues safe, but to protect the lives of the teams of workers keeping things going, law enforcement, and staff throughout the Capitol.’
Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider on Tuesday announced he had COVID and blamed Republicans for infecting himself and fellow Democratic Representatives Pramila Jayapal and Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor.
‘Last Wednesday, after narrowly escaping a violent mob incited by the President of the United States to attack the Capitol and its occupants, I was forced to spend several hours in a secure but confined location with dozens of other Members of Congress,’ Schneider said in a statement Tuesday.
‘Several Republican lawmakers in the room adamantly refused to wear a mask… even when politely asked by their colleagues,’ he continued, pointing to a video posted online by Punchbowl News showing that.
Democratic Rep. Debbie Dingell of Michigan has proposed a $1,000 a day fine on lawmakers who refuse to wear masks while in the U.S. Capitol complex
Democratic Rep. Brad Schneider became the third lawmaker to test positive for COVID after being in lockdown with lawmakers last week when Trump supporters attacked the Capitol
He said he was in isolation and worried about exposing his wife to the disease.
‘Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,’ Schneider said.
Schneider said he was not experiencing symptoms yet and has been isolating in his home in suburban Deerfield, Illinois, since returning from Washington, D.C.
He said he would take any votes, including a potential impeachment vote against President Donald Trump, by proxy this week.
Schneider called on any lawmaker not taking the necessary precautions such as wearing a face mask to be sanctioned and removed from the House floor.
‘We can no longer tolerate Members coming to the floor or gathering in the halls of Congress without doing the bare minimum to protect those around them,’ he said. ‘Those that flout public health guidance should be sanctioned and immediately removed from the House floor by the Sergeant at Arms for their reckless endangerment of their colleagues.’
Jayapal announced late Monday night that she too had tested positive for COVID after sheltering in a small , poorly ventilated room with more than 100 lawmakers last week.
She also blamed Republicans for her infection.
‘I just received a positive COVID-19 test result after being locked down in a secured room at the Capitol where several Republicans not only cruelly refused to wear a mask but recklessly mocked colleagues and staff who offered them one,’ the 55-year-old posted.
After her announcement, Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a hard-line Trump supporter who has expressed support for QAnon theories, took a shot back at Democrats.
‘I hope you fully recover from #COVID19 without any complications!,’ she said in a retweet of Jayapal’s announcement. ‘Before you point fingers at me or anyone else, you need to talk directly to @SpeakerPelosi about exposing ALL of us to covid when she called back POSITIVE covid House members last week for votes for Speaker!’
She was referring to a vote in the House last week attended by some Democrats who had previously positive for COVID. Those lawmakers said they had consulted with the medical staff before attending the vote series.
Rep. Pramila Jayapal has become the second Democratic congresswoman to test positive for COVID-19 after being forced to shelter in a secure room with maskless Republicans during last Wednesday’s siege of the Capitol
Jayapal, who represents Washington’s 7th Congressional District, revealed her diagnosis in a tweet on Monday night, blaming her political adversaries for the infection
Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene, a hard-line Trump supporter who has expressed support for QAnon theories, took a shot back at Democrats
During Wednesday’s attack on Capitol Hill by a mob of unruly Trump supporters, lawmakers were rushed to an undisclosed location and held together for their own safety.
Several Democratic politicians complained that Republican colleagues did not wear face masks in the enclosed space, where they huddled together for hours while they waited for security officials to clear the Capitol.
Jayapal says she is convinced more positive test results will follow, claiming that being forced to huddle in the room will turn out to be ‘a superspreader event’.
‘Only hours after Trump incited a deadly assault on our Capitol, many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic—creating a superspreader event ON TOP of a domestic terrorist attack,’ Japayal fumed on Twitter.
She added: ‘Any Member who refuses to wear a mask should be fully held accountable for endangering our lives because of their selfish idiocy. 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.’
Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman announced she tested positive for COVID and blamed being trapped in a hold during last week’s attack on the Capitol with Republicans who refused to wear face masks
Jayapal did not say whether she was experiencing any notable symptoms following her COVID-19 diagnosis.
She says she will continue to work as she remains in quarantine as per her doctor’s instruction.
‘I share the outrage and anger of those across America who have watched Trump fail to combat this raging pandemic and refuse to take care of Americans who are suffering, dying, and devastated. I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office,’ she wrote.
On Monday afternoon, Rep. Coleman announced her positive diagnosis.
She stated, however, that she was awaiting the results of a PCR test and said she previously received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID19 vaccine, which has been made available to members of Congress and other government officials.
It takes two doses for full immunity.
Dr. Brian Moynihan, the attending physician in the Capitol, issued a warning on Sunday to all lawmakers that they may have been exposed to the highly contagious virus during their lockdown.
He noted that ‘many members of the House community were in protective isolation in the large room – some for several hours’ on Wednesday.
He said ‘individuals may have been exposed to another occupant with coronavirus infection’.
House lawmakers who were whisked to safety when a violent mob of Donald Trump supporters stormed the Capitol were filmed bickering over masks as they hunkered down in a safe room
Video from inside the room where lawmakers huddled together last week, obtained by Punchbowl News, showed several Republican lawmakers not wearing masks – including Congressman Andy Biggs (Arizona), Michael Cloud (Texas), Marjorie Taylor Greene (Georgia), Markwayne Mullin (Oklahoma) and Scott Perry (Pennsylvania).
Democratic Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester of Delaware, who was walking around handing out masks, repeatedly asked those in the maskless group to take one, but they brushed her aside.
President-elect Joe Biden said he saw the footage and was ‘appalled.’
‘I was appalled when I saw, as a matter of fact, distinguished congresswoman from Delaware showed the folks in hiding from the mob, going around trying to hand out masks for everybody. Republican colleagues wouldn’t take the mask,’ he said. ‘I think it is irresponsible. So we all have to make sure it is not a political issue. It is an issue of public safety.’
Dozens of rioters stormed the Capitol last week (pictured), following a MAGA rally held by Donald Trump