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Texas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities

Texas Democrat proposes legislation requiring masks in federal facilities
© Greg Nash

Rep. Sylvia GarciaSylvia GarciaKatherine Clark secures No. 4 leadership spot for House Democrats Democrats to determine leaders after disappointing election Texas social workers drop nondiscrimination rules for LGBTQ, disabilities MORE (D-Texas) proposed legislation on Monday requiring that masks be worn in federal facilities as coronavirus cases continue to surge in some areas of the U.S.

The Texas Democrat introduced the Wear Your Mask Act, which mandates that people wear masks in federally owned, leased or operated facilities and buildings. 

The requirement would remain in place until the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which is headed by Anthony FauciAnthony FauciScott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge Rand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures MORE, determines masks are no longer needed to prevent COVID-19 spread.  

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“As Congress continues to work on additional COVID-19 relief efforts, it is incumbent upon us to take simple common sense actions that will prioritize the safety and well-being of federal workers and the general public that visit federal government buildings,” Garcia said in a statement.

These facilities are required to provide face masks at entrances for those who do not own one. The bill allows a federal agency to remove or deny service to anyone who does not wear a mask.

Garcia called for the bill to be included in the next congressional COVID-19 relief package. 

“As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to keep people safe and we know based on CDC guidelines that wearing a face mask could make the difference between life and death during this pandemic,” she said. 

Original co-sponsors of Garcia’s bill include Reps. Steve CohenStephen (Steve) Ira CohenDe Blasio mum on whether he'll block sale of Mets to controversial investor Two ethics groups call on House to begin impeachment inquiry against Barr Jewish lawmakers targeted by anti-Semitic tweets ahead of election: ADL MORE (D-Tenn.), Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-N.Y.), Lucille Roybal-AllardLucille Roybal-AllardDemocrats were united on top issues this Congress — but will it hold? Democratic Women's Caucus members split endorsements for House campaign chief Hispanic Caucus asks for Department of Labor meeting on COVID in meatpacking plants MORE (D-Calif.), Debbie DingellDeborah (Debbie) Ann DingellGM reverses on Trump, exits suit challenging California's tougher emissions standards Ex-AG Holder urges GOP to speak against Trump efforts to 'subvert' election results McEnany disputes any Trump 'advocacy' with invite to Michigan lawmakers MORE (D-Mich.), Veronica EscobarVeronica EscobarMaloney vows to overhaul a House Democratic campaign machine 'stuck in the past' Hispanic Caucus endorses Cárdenas to lead DCCC Progressive lawmakers call for United Nations probe into DHS 'human rights abuses' MORE (D-Texas) and André Carson (D-Ind.) and Del. Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonRecord number of Black women elected to Congress in 2020 Lawmakers say infrastructure efforts are falling victim to deepening partisan divide The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - Trump, Biden blitz battleground states MORE (D-D.C.). 

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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people wear a cloth face covering in public, especially when social distancing is not possible. 

At least 21 states, including Louisiana and California, have declared that masks must be worn in public, while other states have recommended they be worn.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE has been hesitant to wear a mask in public but did so for the first time over the weekend during his visit to Walter Reed hospital to meet with wounded soldiers. 

The U.S. has confirmed more than 3.3 million coronavirus cases since the beginning of the pandemic, leading to 135,512 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.