House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she’ll keep the House floor mask mandate until there is proof all lawmakers are vaccinated, scoffing at “an honor system.”
The California Democrat also blamed Republicans as untrustworthy vaccine holdouts and said she may eventually force them to vote in a separate location from the House floor.
Pelosi suggested the House could ban unvaccinated GOP lawmakers from the House floor and force them to vote in a special vestibule on the third floor of the Capitol, above the chamber.
“The honor system, as to whether somebody is vaccinated?” the California Democrat said, appearing incredulous when asked Thursday about whether she’ll keep the mask mandate indefinitely if some do not get the shot.
“Do you want them breathing in your face, on the strength of their honor?”
Pelosi and Republicans have been engaged in a bitter battle about the mask mandate since last week when the CDC recommended those who are fully vaccinated can shed their masks, indoor and outdoors.
Pelosi has maintained the mandate in the House chamber and in committees, blaming unvaccinated Republicans. All House Democratic lawmakers are vaccinated.
Democrats blocked a resolution Wednesday that would have ended the mask mandate.
On Thursday, Pelosi took aim at Republicans, who she said are to blame for the mask mandate that everyone hopes to end.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that the House of Representatives chamber is not a Petri dish for the cause of the selfishness of some, not to be vaccinated, or to insist,” on not wearing a mask.
Pelosi said Democrats who control the chamber “could come to a place” where those who are unvaccinated and won’t wear a mask would be banned from the floor and forced to cast their vote in a special vestibule set up earlier this year in the viewing gallery on the third floor.
The special voting area was constructed in January, during the height of the pandemic and when all Democratic lawmakers were needed to ensure Pelosi’s election as House speaker.
Pelosi said her goal is to balance the constitutional duties of lawmakers with safety.
A revised statement from the Capitol attending physician this week said the House chamber and House committee rooms have “received special medical consideration for continued mask wear,” including “underlying health conditions and age.”
Brian Monahan, the attending physician for Congress, described the number of unvaccinated lawmakers as “substantial,” although it is fewer than 25% of all members.
Pelosi suggested she could end the mask requirement and let the unvaccinated GOP lawmakers vote on the third floor.
“We could come to a place where we say if you don’t want to wear a mask and … you’re not vaccinated, don’t even come to the floor,” Pelosi said. “We have …up above, in the gallery, where people can come to vote. We don’t want to deter anybody’s ability to exercise their constitutional duties. We have that responsibility as well. We’re trying to balance everybody being able to exercise his or her constitutional duties as well as protect the staff and the other members.”
Source: Washington Examiner : ‘Don’t even come to the floor’: Pelosi warns she could ban GOP’s unvaccinated