Lawmakers did the GOP as much as possible to avoid paying fines for running rules imposed by Democrats that require masks and security checks before entering the chamber of the House.
At least six Republicans have been fined in recent days for protesting the need for a floor mask, in addition to five more from February who have been punished for failing to complete security checks.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) Responded to a $ 500 fine by photo tweeting of the notice thrown in the trash, while Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) Told Fox News last week that he was “not, in any way, willing to give [Speaker Nancy] Pelosi is a cent out of the world. “
Lawmakers could appeal the fines to the House Ethics Committee, which has so far supported metal detector penalties against two Republicans and dropped two more against Reps. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) And House Majority Whip James Clyburn (DS.C.).
Heavy monetary enforcement is another example of the mistrust that has deepened since the Capitol attack on Jan. 6. Democrats say they can’t trust some Republicans to follow security measures, while GOP lawmakers affirmed that the fines should not take away the power of a majority in the House.
Failure to wear a mask results in a $ 500 fine for the first offense, followed by $ 2,500 for subsequent offenses.
If a lawmaker fails to complete a security screening before entering the House room, they are hit with a $ 5,000 fine. Again the offenders received a $ 10,000 fine.
The rules state that the fine will be deducted from the legislator’s salary and will not be paid into the office budget or campaign funds.
The Mast was among several Republicans staging a House floor protest against the need for the mask following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that vaccinated individuals do not need face masks in general. settings.
Mast and Massie both incited their $ 500 fines. The third Republican Rep. Ralph Norman (SC), is likely to also appeal his fine but is still exploring his options, according to a spokesman.
At least three other Republicans – Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Beth Van Duyne (Texas) and Mariannette Miller -Meeks (Iowa) – were also released on mask fines. It is unclear whether they will appeal.
“I am fully vaccinated and following science,” Mast wrote in his appeal to the House Ethics Committee.
Mast further stated that the fine is unconstitutional and “unenforceable,” cited in part of the 27th Constitutional Amendment which prohibits any change in the salary of members of Congress to take effect until after in the next election.
While all of Mast, Miller-Meeks and Norman have confirmed that they have been fully vaccinated, other Republicans who have been fined for not wearing a mask have refused to disclose their vaccination status or have openly stated that they have not been vaccinated.
Massie said he was limited to a vaccine because he had previously tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, even though the CDC recommended that people recovering from the virus should still be vaccinated.
He questioned why masks were only needed in specific areas of the Capitol.
“Why where is the @cspan camera? Because TEATER is not SCIENCE,” Massie tweeted, calling the mask fine “ridiculous” and “oppressive.”
Attending Capitol physician Brian Monahan, explained in a memo that masks are still necessary in the House room unless members are known to speak during the debate because “this is the only place where entire Membership gathers daily in an empty space. “
Masks are also needed on House committees.
But Monahan provided the green light for fully vaccinated people to go unmasked in places like hallways, individual offices or elevators. And throughout the Capitol, masks are never mandatory in the Senate, where everyone except a few senators are now vaccinated.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) Responded to Republican protests by saying they should all be vaccinated if they want to remove the mask mandate. A recent CNN survey found that all House and Senate Democrats confirmed that they were vaccinated.
“We have a responsibility to make sure that the House of Representatives doesn’t petri dishes out of the greed of some not to be vaccinated or pushed – or wear a mask,” Pelosi said.
“Do you want them to breathe in your face the energy of their honor?” he asked.
The fines for enforcing the rules of the House are not the same as before. In 2017, House Republicans imposed fines – $ 500 for the first offense and $ 2,500 for subsequent incidents – to enforce a ban on lawmakers taking photos or live video of the floor after making a sit- in the Democrats to protest the non -enactment of the gun control law.
Democrats also feel they should impose fines to force the implementation of security checks implemented at the start of the riots on Jan. 6 after several Republicans refused to pass on the newly installed metal detectors. outside the Chamber room.
An incident in which a metal detector caught a concealed gun from Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) Further confirmed Democrats ’fears that some Republicans may not follow rules banning firearms on the House floor.
The House Ethics Committee upheld the fine against Reps. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) And Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) for failing to complete security screenings, while two other cases involving Rep. Virginia Foxx (RN.C.) and Lloyd Waiting for Smucker (R-Pa.).
Clyde said he would file a lawsuit in federal court to challenge a fine of up to $ 15,000 to be imposed on him, but it was unclear if the fine was taken from his salary. Aides Clyde and Gohmert did not respond to questions about whether lawmakers paid their fines.
Democrats defending the penalties argue that the rules governing metal detector checks or masks enforce what they believe to be a bit of a hassle.
“There are a lot of workplaces that have rules and there are a lot of workers in the country who have to follow the rules or face the consequences,” said Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.).
“I think we’ve got a fulfilling life. I don’t think we should complain about little things like that,” Khanna said.