Reps. Greene, Roy fined for not wearing masks on House floor
GOP Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.) and Chip Roy (Texas) have been fined for not wearing masks on the House floor, the Ethics Committee disclosed Wednesday.
Roy has been fined $500, since it is his first documented offense. But Greene was previously fined $500 in May for declining to wear a mask on the House floor, meaning that her latest fine will be $2,500.
House members can file appeals with the Ethics panel to contest the fines, but neither Greene nor Roy did so, according to the committee.
Roy said that he didn’t try to file an appeal because he didn’t think it would go very far, while reserving the possibility to take legal action.
“Filing an appeal to tyrannical overlords is a futile gesture, and — if successful — would leave one without standing to sue, should the mood arise,” Roy said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Greene didn’t immediately return a request for comment from The Hill.
Aside from Greene and Roy, five other GOP lawmakers have been fined for ignoring the House floor mask requirement during the COVID-19 pandemic: Reps. Thomas Massie (Ky.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Brian Mast (Fla.), Beth Van Duyne (Texas) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa).
Greene, Massie and Norman have filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia to challenge the constitutionality of the mask fines.
The House Ethics Committee has previously rejected appeals from those lawmakers contesting the fines for not wearing masks. In their appeals, none of the Republicans disputed that they had declined to wear masks, instead arguing that the facial coverings weren’t necessary or that the fines were unconstitutional.
Most Republicans have complied with the House floor mask mandate after it was reimposed in late July to avoid getting hit with the hefty fines. But the majority of Republicans and their staff have ignored the mask mandate in other parts of the Capitol in recent weeks where the rules aren’t enforced with fines.
Lawmakers are still allowed to remove their masks while they are speaking during House floor debate.
Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) first instituted the House floor mask mandate in July 2020 after numerous Republicans refused to wear masks, including one who subsequently tested positive for COVID-19.
House Democrats voted in January to make the mask mandate enforceable by fines after several Republicans, including Greene, were maskless while lawmakers had to stay in a crowded secure room during the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The Capitol physician initially declined to lift the House floor mask mandate after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced in mid-May that fully vaccinated people didn’t need to wear facial coverings in most settings. Several Republicans subsequently refused to wear masks on the House floor to protest the continued mask mandate and were issued fines.
The mask requirement was ultimately lifted in June amid a decline in COVID-19 cases, only to be reinstated a little over a month later due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant.
After about six months went by without any members of Congress announcing they tested positive for COVID-19, at least a dozen have disclosed that they caught the virus since July.
Ten of those lawmakers were fully vaccinated, while the vaccination status of two other House Republicans who also tested positive was unclear.
Several lawmakers have also been fined for failing to complete security screenings before entering the House chamber, which began after the Jan. 6 Capitol attack. Democrats similarly began imposing fines in January after numerous Republicans refused to comply with the metal detector screenings and berated police officers trying to enforce the policy.
Fines for refusing to undergo a House chamber security screening start at $5,000 for the first offense and $10,000 for a second one.