WASHINGTON (NEXSTAR) — After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday said that everyone — even those who are fully vaccinated — should wear a mask indoors if they live in a COVID-19 hot spot, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reinstated a mask mandate on the House floor.
Republicans objected to that mandate and also called the revised CDC guidance confusing and unfair to people who are vaccinated. They argue that in the end, the new guidance won’t help slow the spread of the virus.
“We have a crisis that our border and we’re playing footsie with mask mandates in the people’s house,” an annoyed Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, said on the House floor Wednesday.
“This is about mandates, not about science, and I think that’s what causes a lot of problems,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters before going into a meeting with the Capitol physician. “This is what people are tired of.”
But CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said the new guidance was based on the newest data and circumstances — specifically the spread of the highly transmissible delta variant. The CDC also recommended universal masks in schools in the fall.
“In those indoor settings, everyone should be masked,” Walensky said.
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., who is vaccinated, said Democrats are sending out mixed messages that could backfire.
“People will say, ‘Woah there, so you’re telling me the vaccines aren’t really effective? Well then, I’m not going to get one.’ So I think this is a mistake,” he argued.
But Pelosi stood by her rule.
“To say wearing a mask is not based on science, I think, is not wise,” she said.
On Thursday, President Joe Biden is expected to require all federal workers to be vaccinated against the virus or submit to strict testing protocols.