Thursday, February 2, 2023

Democrats Push Back Against Important Resolution

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( – In a development that should have been cause for celebration, the CDC announced last week that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks or practice social distancing. Predictably, however, it soon became a political scrap.

H. Res 414

On Wednesday, May 19, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) led a group of House Republicans in introducing H. Res 414. The privileged resolution would have updated the rules relating to mask-wearing inside the House in light of the new CDC guidance. Democrats opposed the measure, voting the bill down 218-210.

The resolution goes into detail in its reasoning that masks should no longer be an essential feature of House business. It first points to the updated CDC guidance and refers to Dr. Anthony Fauci’s statement that a vaccinated person would be very unlikely to “transmit [the virus] to someone else.”

It then points to the fact several states and large corporations have relaxed their rules around masks. It appeals to voters to give Americans the confidence to “return to their pre-pandemic routines.”

The resolution addresses House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) directly, requesting that she “stop politicizing science as a personal vendetta” against her adversaries in Washington, DC. 

The Democratic Response

On Wednesday, Drew Hammill, a spokesman for Speaker Pelosi, was quoted as saying the GOP bill was nothing more than a “sad stunt.” He alleged it was a distraction to draw attention away from the commission of the investigation into the Capitol riot in January. That motion passed the House with some Republican support but is unlikely to succeed in the Senate.

Whatever Pelosi’s real reasons for opposing the long-awaited return to normality, this is not a battle she will win easily. The day before the resolution went to the floor, several Republicans protested by appearing in the chamber without masks. Rep. Brian Mast (R-FL) was one of those involved. Concerning the fine that currently accompanies a violation of the rule, Mast said it was the “best $500 I ever spent.” 

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