Likely reluctant to let go of one of the last vestiges of COVID-19 authoritarianism, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) is facing vocal new demands from Republican colleagues to rescind Capitol mask mandates and permit the public to resume visits to the complex, as Fox News reports.
Specifically, the speaker was sent a letter on Friday signed by Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) and nearly 30 of his GOP colleagues spelling out all of the reasons all such requirements should be lifted effective immediately.
According to the Washington Examiner, the communication to Pelosi contended that “[t]he House’s mandates are anti-science, ineffective, and tyrannical, and they must end now. The American people are returning to normal, and the House of Representatives should too.”
The letter went on, pointing out that “[s]tates like California, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Nevada, New York, and Rhode Island have lifted mask mandates in recent weeks. Even Washington, D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser lifted her ridiculous vaccine mandate and announced the mask mandate will soon follow.”
“This has gone on long enough. There is no reason to keep our Capitol closed and to continue enforcing the draconian mask mandate,” said Biggs in a separate statement publicizing the Republicans’ demands.
The congressman continued, saying, “The Capitol belongs to the American people, and their right to come before Congress is not contingent on wearing a mask. No more excuses, reopen the Capitol and rescind the mandates so that we can return to normal.”
Republican lawmakers have been at odds with Pelosi’s pandemic mitigation edicts for quite some time, particularly with regard to the monetary fines levied against members who have failed to don facial coverings on the floor of the lower chamber.
Last summer, GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (GA), Thomas Massie (KY), and Ralph Norman (SC) went so far as to file suit in protest of the $500 sanctions they were issued, fines that House Democrats previously voted could rise to $2,500 for second offenses.
In response to the kerfuffle, Pelosi explained to Fox News Digital that she was not in charge of decisions about mask mandates or public access at the Capitol, deferring instead to the House and Senate Sergeants at Arms together with the Office of the Attending Physician, so just how this dispute will ultimately play out, only time will tell.