Six House Republicans have been fined $500 for going maskless in the chamber — with two members docked the cash after they trashed letters warning them to follow rules about face-coverings on the floor.
Around a dozen GOP lawmakers opted to keep their masks off during votes Tuesday, with some making a point to stand in the well of the House chamber to ensure that spectators, colleagues and the C-SPAN cameras could not miss them.
House rules dictate that members must keep their faces covered in the chamber except when speaking during debates. Failure to follow the rule results in a fine of $500 for a first offense and $2,500 for a second offense.
Following Tuesday’s display, seven House Republicans received an initial warning letter from the House Sergeant-at-Arms about wearing masks: Lauren Boebert of Colorado, Thomas Massie of Kentucky, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Chip Roy of Texas, Bob Good of Virginia, Louie Gohmert of Texas and Mary Miller of Illinois.
Three others were initially fined: Reps. Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa) and Beth Van Duyne (R-Texas).
However, Massie and Taylor Greene broadcast their defiance Wednesday, with Massie tweeting an image of the warning letter in his office trash can.
“Just filed @SpeakerPelosi’s letter warning me to follow her mask rule,” he wrote.
Taylor Greene, who posed for a cheerful selfie with some of her unmasked colleagues Tuesday, took her rejection of the warning to another level, posting a video in which she ran the letter through an office shredder.
“You can’t discriminate against people simply because they won’t wear a mask,” she said in the video, “and today, I refused to wear a mask on the House floor and I received a warning from Speaker Pelosi that leads to fines if I continue to refuse to wear a mask. Well, here’s what I think of your warning, Speaker Pelosi.”
The tweet was accompanied by the hashtag, “#FreeYourFace”.
Massie, Taylor Greene and Rep. Ralph Norman (R-SC) were subsequently fined $500. Massie tweeted Thursday that he had filed the letter notifying him of his fine “in the same location as the first.”
Pelosi has said she will not lift the mask rule until all House members and floor staff are fully vaccinated. Republicans say the rule runs counter to new CDC guidance stating fully vaccinated people can go without masks indoors or out. They point to the fact that the rule only applies to the House chamber and not elsewhere in the Capitol complex.
The Speaker estimates that around 75 percent of House members have been vaccinated and described the remainder Thursday as “an endangerment to other people, including staff people here.”
“We have a responsibility to make sure the House of Representatives’ chamber is not a petri dish,” Pelosi added. “Until they are vaccinated, we cannot have meetings without masks.”
Van Duyne told Fox News Thursday night that Pelosi’s rule was “dishonest and arbitrary.”
“The only time that Pelosi and her socialists really seem to care about the science is when they can use it as a weapon to control the American people,” she told “Hannity.” You’ve seen them use it to be able to close schools and to keep businesses closed and to make people more dependent on the government. You have seen them ignore science regarding masks when they can continue to control people, to stoke fear and make them obey … They continue to stoke this fear, and I got to the point where I just said, ‘Forget it. I’m done. I’m done.'”