House

Eighth House GOP lawmaker issued $500 fine for not wearing mask on House floor

Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.)
Greg Nash

The House Ethics Committee disclosed on Tuesday that Rep. Mary Miller (R-Ill.) has been fined $500 for not wearing a mask on the House floor in late July, making her the eighth GOP lawmaker facing monetary punishment for refusing to comply with rules established during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Miller filed an appeal against the fine, but it was rejected by the Ethics Committee. A majority of the panel, which is evenly divided between both parties, must agree to an appeal for it to succeed.

Miller did not deny in her appeal that she had declined to wear a mask on the House floor. Instead, she argued the fines are “arbitrary and capricious” because Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has been photographed without a mask.

Lawmakers are permitted to remove their masks while they are recognized to speak on the House floor. Many in both parties also remove their masks in other settings where they are speaking on camera, such as press conferences.

The mask mandate — first established in July 2020, briefly lifted this past June and then reinstated in July — applies to House office buildings, the House chamber and hallways on that side of the Capitol.
 
But the fines, which start at $500 for the first offense and $2,500 for the second, only apply to the House chamber. Many Republicans and their staff in recent weeks have ignored the mask requirement in the hallways adjacent to the House chamber and the surrounding office buildings.

In an appendix attached to her appeal, Miller included pictures of Pelosi at press events where she wasn’t wearing a mask while being photographed. It included one photo in which Pelosi appeared to be putting her mask back on as she left a press conference.

Miller acknowledged in late July that she would be subject to the $500 fine for declining to comply with the requirement that everyone wear masks on the House floor.

“Freedom isn’t free. It cost me 500 dollars today to have a free face!” Miller tweeted.

 

Miller was previously issued a warning in May when she joined a group of House Republicans who were refusing to wear masks because the Centers for Disease Control had issued guidance that people vaccinated against COVID-19 didn’t need to wear masks in most settings. At the time, the Capitol physician had not yet rescinded the House mask mandate.

Aside from Miller, seven other House Republicans have been issued fines for not wearing masks in the House chamber: Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (Ga.), Chip Roy (Texas), Thomas Massie (Ky.), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Brian Mast (Fla.), Beth Van Duyne (Texas) and Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa).

Greene has been fined twice, meaning she has accrued a cumulative total of $3,000 in mask fines.

The House Ethics Committee has upheld the mask fines levied against all of those lawmakers.

Greene, Massie and Norman filed a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia in July to challenge the constitutionality of the mask fines.

Across the Capitol, the Senate has never had a mask mandate. However, all but a few senators have said they are vaccinated, and most have voluntarily complied with mask guidance during the pandemic.

Tags Brian Mast Chip Roy House rules Marjorie Taylor Greene Mary Miller mask mandate Nancy Pelosi Ralph Norman Thomas Massie
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