COLUMBIA, SC – Three Republican members of the US House have lost appeals challenging fines for not wearing face coverings on House floors earlier this year.
On Tuesday, the United States House Ethics Committee released statements noting that U.S. Representatives Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina had failed in their calls for $ 500 fines. $ issued in May.
Republicans challenged the fines in June, arguing the mandate was out of step with recent federal guidelines on face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The incident occurred a week after the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidelines that “fully vaccinated people can resume their activities without wearing a mask or moving away.”
At the time, face coverings were still required on the floor, a mandate put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in June 2020. Even after the CDC’s guidance was updated in May, Dr. Brian Monahan, attending physician of Congress, wrote that “masking requirements and other guidelines remain unchanged until all members and field staff are fully immunized. “
“I voted upstairs in the House without wearing my mask,” Norman wrote. “I did this because I was following the lead of the best scientists in our country that fully vaccinated people do not need to wear a mask.”
In his appeal, Greene called the fine “arbitrary and capricious, abuse of discretion and otherwise inconsistent with the law or the principles of fairness.”
A handful of Republican lawmakers have been fined. Greene, Massie and Norman, along with Rep. Mary E. Miller from Illinois, took an unmasked selfie on the floor of the house.
On June 11, the requirement was lifted, with Monahan writing that fully vaccinated members, staff and visitors to the chamber could remove their masks. Norman said in his appeal he had been fully vaccinated since February. Greene and Massie both said they did not take the vaccine.