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

Rep. Cathy McMorris RodgersCathy McMorris RodgersLobbying world House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 Hillicon Valley: Biden signs order on chips | Hearing on media misinformation | Facebook's deal with Australia | CIA nominee on SolarWinds MORE (R-Wash.) floated the notion on Tuesday that Republicans should offer a motion to vacate the chair of Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiTrump White House associate tied to Proud Boys before riot via cell phone data Greene sounds off on GOP after Hill story 'Bloody Sunday' to be commemorated for first time without John Lewis MORE (D-Calif.), citing the participation of Democratic Rep. Gwen MooreGwen Sophia MooreLawmakers urge IRS to boost outreach about tax credits for low-income Americans McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis House approves rules package for new Congress 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 McCarthyMcCarthy sits for 'Green Eggs and Ham' reading: I 'still like' Dr. Seuss Chamber of Commerce clarifies stance on lawmakers who voted against election certification Watch live: McCarthy holds press briefing 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 DavisHouse-passed election bill takes aim at foreign interference Biden to meet with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure House passes voting rights and elections reform bill MORE (R-Ill.), Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseBiden's COVID, border policies prove he's serious about neither Republican rips GOP lawmakers for voting by proxy from CPAC Merrick Garland is right to prioritize domestic terrorism, but he'll need a bigger boat MORE (R-La.) and House Republican Conference Chair Liz CheneyElizabeth (Liz) Lynn CheneyMarjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP Paul Ryan to host fundraiser for Cheney amid GOP tensions Republicans, please save your party 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 WilsonAn attack on America that's divided Congress — and a nation Capitol Police report warned that Congress could be targeted three days before riot Democrats point fingers on whether Capitol rioters had inside help MORE (Fla.), and Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) RyanABC names new deputy political director, weekend White House correspondent Threats to lawmakers up 93.5 percent in last two months Tim Ryan: Prosecutors reviewing video of Capitol tours given by lawmakers before riot MORE (Ohio) and one Republican Rep. Jeff FortenberryJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FortenberryMarjorie Taylor Greene's delay tactics frustrate GOP Biden can build on Pope Francis's visit to Iraq McMorris Rodgers floats vacating Speaker's chair over Democrat's in-person vote after COVID diagnosis 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.