The House of Representatives returned from a forced recess today, with several new rules that they are asked to follow.
The rules aren’t mandatory, but members who were on the floor without a face mask were taken to task for not thinking about potentially exposing other, older members to infection.
But others flaunted the guidelines: Republican Rep. Jim Jordan, a close ally of President Donald Trump, was seen on the House floor without a mask during a debate on the creation of special committee to oversee the trillions of dollars allocated for coronavirus relief.
After Jordan spoke, McGovern, who is managing the floor debate for Democrats, reminded lawmakers of the new recommendations.
‘While face coverings are not mandatory, there are certainly recommended. And the Office of the Attending Physician has also advised that a face covering will produce a minimum reduction in sound when using a microphone. The face covering is likely to be most useful in preventing a viral spread when a person is speaking. So people can do whatever they want to do,’ he said.
‘I would say that while we are all trying to show how fearless we are, we should be mindful of the people surrounding us,’ McGovern noted of the rebels.
The Daily Mail lists other safety measures that Congress is operating under.
- Physicians office will provide masks and gloves for lawmakers to wear
- Votes will be held open for up to two hours with lawmakers told to vote in shifts
- Lawmakers asked to quarantine selves in office when not voting
- They are also asked to take stairs to House chamber instead of elevator
- House chamber will be closed for 30 minutes between votes for cleaning
It didn’t appear to be a partisan issue, as some Democrats — including Speaker Pelosi — did not wear a mask on the House floor.
Some wore masks and others, like Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert, another Trump ally, did not.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi did not wear a mask when she addressed lawmakers from the House floor. Although she wore one when she entered the Capitol and when she walked from her office to the House floor.
Republican Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma said he would fall Pelosi’s example and not wear a mask while he managed the floor debate for the GOP.
‘I’m going to follow her example. I think we should keep our mask on when we’re doing our normal business but take them off when we’re speaking and thank you for setting that example, Madam Speaker,’ he said.
As someone extremely vulnerable to serious illness if I get infected — and my Sue being equally at risk — I wear a mask whenever I step out the door. But even though masks are mandatory in Illinois, more than half the people I see in my little town aren’t wearing them. Of course, we have yet to have a case of the virus in town so there’s no sense of immediate danger.
But even if I or my loved ones weren’t vulnerable to illness and death, I believe I’d still wear a mask. It’s simple common courtesy and since it’s no trouble to do it, I do it.
We are not close to the end of this pandemic. We’re not even at the end of the beginning. We still don’t know fully what we’re dealing with as far as the virus is concerned, and that includes how it works and why some who are infected never get sick and others die.
Wearing a mask is such a small thing and I wish congressmen and women would set the example and wear one.
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