McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis

Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersHouse GOP to launch climate caucus New Alzheimer's drug sparks backlash over FDA, pricing FDA approves first new Alzheimer's drug in almost 20 years MORE (R-Wash.) floated the notion on Tuesday that Republicans should offer a motion to vacate the chair of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiEquilibrium/Sustainability — Presented by NextEra Energy — Set millions of tires on fire, pay less than ,000 On The Money: Biden announces bipartisan deal on infrastructure, but Democratic leaders hold out for more Democrats seek to calm nervous left MORE (D-Calif.), citing the participation of Democratic Rep. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MoorePelosi picks Democrats for special panel tackling inequality Democrats offer bill to encourage hiring of groups hard-hit by pandemic Shining a light on COINTELPRO's dangerous legacy MORE (Wis.) in the Speaker vote on Sunday despite testing positive for the coronavirus late the previous month.

Two GOP lawmakers, who attended a closed-door meeting on Tuesday where the idea was proposed, said they believe the move could garner significant support within the conference, arguing Pelosi, in allowing Moore to attend the vote in-person, put other members' health at risk in order for the California Democrat to retain the Speaker's gavel.

A spokesperson for McMorris Rodgers confirmed to The Hill that she made the suggestion to vacate the chair as "one option available to hold the Speaker accountable for Sunday’s unjust vote and to seek justice for Americans across this country and their representatives in the House.”


"The Congresswoman agrees with her colleagues that Speaker Pelosi's unilateral decision to change guidelines and allow a member to break COVID-19 quarantine protocols in the House was a clear abuse of power, which disenfranchised voting privileges of all duly elected members," the spokesman said. 

Moore announced she tested positive for COVID-19 on Dec. 28. While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who test positive or have been exposed to the virus quarantine for at least seven to 10 days, Moore's office stated that she “has worked with doctors and is safe to travel” to the Jan. 3 vote.

Moore announced her positive diagnosis on Dec. 28, but released a statement on Tuesday evening claiming to have first tested positive on Dec. 23.

“I would like to reassure all of my colleagues, constituents, and the people who work within the Capitol complex that I have complied with all doctor and CDC guidelines following my COVID-19 diagnosis and isolation, and that I am COVID-recovered and safe to work and vote on behalf of the people of the Fourth Congressional District of Wisconsin,” she said in the statement.

Moore told a reporter Sunday that she "didn't get a negative test," before arriving at the Capitol on Sunday but said she was cleared by the Capitol's attending physician to be there. Moore said at the time she had been in quarantine for two weeks.


Republicans have slammed Moore and Pelosi for the decision to allow her into the chamber, with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyDemocrats to create select committee to probe Jan. 6 attack The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senators, White House to meet on potential infrastructure deal Defense contractors ramp up donations to GOP election objectors MORE (R-Calif.) noting on Sunday two Republicans who tested positive refrained from participating in the vote. 

McCarthy, House Administration Committee ranking member Rodney DavisRodney Lee DavisThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Capitol Police Board signals resistance to reform McCarthy says that he will not support bipartisan deal for Jan. 6 commission MORE (R-Ill.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseDefense contractors ramp up donations to GOP election objectors On The Money: Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall | Schumer, Pelosi meeting with White House on infrastructure Powell says pickup in job gains likely this fall MORE (R-La.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyTrump clash ahead: Ron DeSantis positions himself as GOP's future in a direct-mail piece Trump has 'zero desire' to be Speaker, spokesman says Liz Cheney hired security after death threats: report MORE (R-Wyo.) sent a letter to Pelosi on Tuesday, slamming the move as irresponsible and noting the minority party was not informed about the construction of a plexiglass area in the chamber's visitors gallery to allow members breaking quarantine to vote.

Two other Democrats, Reps. Frederica WilsonFrederica Patricia WilsonBiden offers traditional address in eerie setting Congressional Black Caucus members post selfie celebrating first WH visit in four years Rep. Frederica Wilson shares her famous hat collection with Netflix MORE (Fla.), and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanDemocratic clamor grows for select committee on Jan. 6 attack J.D. Vance emerges as wild card in Ohio GOP Senate primary 9 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2022 MORE (Ohio) and one Republican Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryRecovering America through the lens of wildlife The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Senate path uncertain after House approves Jan. 6 panel Marjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP MORE (Neb.) utilized the enclosure in the chamber to take part in the Speaker vote. 

“The opening day of the 117th Congress was the latest example of medical guidance being thrown out the window in favor of what is politically convenient,” they wrote. “The detailed guidance on the logistics for January 3rd issued at your direction by the House Sergeant at Arms and Attending Physician were completely abandoned. Despite the science not changing, the guidelines we operated under for your election as Speaker did.”

-- Updated 5:43 p.m.