President Joe Biden celebrated the lifting of most CDC requirements to wear a mask by saying, “Today is a great day for America.” Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi begs to differ. When a reporter asked her if she will drop the mandate to wear a mask on the House floor, her response was: “No. Are they all vaccinated?”
Some Republicans, for their own reasons, have not gotten vaccinated and apparently never will. Pelosi is going to use that as an excuse to maintain the mask mandate even after it’s totally unnecessary.
“It’s about control,” House Minority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) told Fox News host Laura Ingraham on Thursday evening. “She wants to control the House.”
But Pelosi (D-Calif.) pointed toward a lingering number of unvaccinated House members as part of the decision to keep mask rules in place on the House floor. Pelosi said last month that roughly a quarter of legislators have yet to receive a coronavirus vaccine and noted: “We cannot require someone to be vaccinated.”
Some Republicans have said they aren’t getting vaccinated because they’ve had covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus, and now have antibodies. Others, including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) have publicly declined to take a vaccine.
House physician Brian P. Monahan noted the CDC guidance that “recovery from natural infection is not equivalent to completion of a vaccination.” In truth, there is still an argument in the scientific world about whether you can get COVID-19 twice and whether an already infected individual is capable of transmitting the disease, although everyone agrees that there is near zero chance you will become seriously ill or die from the second infection. The CDC guidance on those who have survived a Covid infection was issued with an abundance of caution in mind, not based on any specific science.
But the requirement that everyone in Congress must be “fully vaccinated” — must have had two jabs of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines — before Pelosi can lift the mask mandate is ludicrous.
Some Republican lawmakers, though, accused Pelosi of grandstanding on the issue and ignoring science on the risks of transmission. Rep. Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio), who spearheaded the letter to Pelosi, called her stance “Mask-erpiece Theater.”
“Based on sound science, the CDC says those who are vaccinated have an incredibly low risk of becoming infected with coronavirus,” Gibbs said in a statement. “With that data, there is no reason the House of Representatives should not be fully open and returned to normal operations.”
As Scalise said, this is about control, not the health and safety of members. Using Pelosi’s rationale, we will be waiting forever for the pall of the coronavirus to be lifted from the country. The risks to members are minimal and since all of them are grown-up adults, presumably (mostly) in their right minds, they can make their own choices whether to stay masked or not.
It’s natural that politicians are having a hard time ceding control over our lives. They justify the tyranny by claiming they’re doing it for our own good — obviously because we’re too stupid to take care of ourselves. Perhaps the next time voters cast their ballots, they can consider which party is treating them like idiot children and which party is treating them as adults.