US Capitol Police (USCP) stated there is no sound reasoning for the House of Representatives' new mask mandate should lead to an arrest. The office released a statement on Thursday talking back on the threat of arrest simultaneously with the timing of Congress allocating $71 million in new funding for the force.
Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger released an advisory obtained by lawmakers on Thursday indicating police officials would take staff and visitors into custody who refuse to comply in donning a mask on the Capitol Complex's House side. Also, police officials were told not to seize Congress members for not wearings masks. Instead, they were instructed to report the refusal to obey rules of lawmakers to the House sergeant-at-arms.
CDC: Face Masks To Be Required Again
Under the Capitol's attending physician, at the guidance of Brian Monahan, the chamber released a memo indicating that face masks would be necessitated again. This is following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention stating people should wear masks in a number of situations notwithstanding their inoculation status.
Lawmakers who contravene the protocol will be reported to the sergeant-at-arms. However, staff members and visitors were not offered such a privilege.
Masks a Point of Political Dispute
The subject of donning a face mask has been a point of political dispute for as long as the COVID-19 pandemic has become prevalent in the US. Congress has witnessed its share of this dilemma with lawmakers having played out the bigger cultural conflict in the little world of their workplace. Therefore, an individual could be forgiven for being relieved when the Capitol mask regulations were lifted.
Reaction of Republicans
Numerous GOP lawmakers reacted negatively to the newly imposed measure. Rep. Cat Cammack, R-Fla. called our the policy an "overstep" of her House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's right which initially asked the Capitol police to report on members and detain employees.
According to GOP North Carolina Rep. Greg Murphy, MD, echoing the same sentiment, the command is a "McCarthyism" and an "infinite power grab," reported Love by Life.
Rep. Chip Roy on Thursday squared up to House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy regarding the new Capitol Police policy. According to two sources, the member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus remarked it was "bull----" and that they need to lead, reported Politico.
Several GOP members have refused to don face masks. They stated it hindered personal freedom. They censured the Capitol physician over making a mask guideline effective for the House and not the Senate. They contended that the science translated that inoculated individuals must not wear face masks.
On Thursday, many visitors and staff members were witnessed milling around the House side of the Capitol without masks. However, they were not seized.
The dispute started following Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.) remarking that "if a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask after a request is made to do so, the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to the House Office Buildings or House-side of the U.S. Capitol," reported New York Post.