Boebert, Clyde fined for defying House floor mask mandate
Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) has been fined at least $58,000 for repeatedly violating rules requiring lawmakers to wear masks on the House floor during the COVID-19 pandemic, while Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) has been fined $500, the House Ethics Committee revealed Monday.
The Ethics Committee further disclosed that a third Republican, Rep. Mariannette Miller-Meeks (Iowa), was also fined for not wearing a mask.
Clyde and his fellow Georgia Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have repeatedly refused to wear masks on the House floor in recent months and have each accrued tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of fines, which are deducted directly from their paychecks.
The House sergeant-at-arms has documented Clyde violating the House floor mask mandate at least 24 times since September, according to disclosures from the Ethics Committee.
Clyde has tried to appeal some of the fines — which are $500 for the first offense and $2,500 for each subsequent offense — but the committee upheld them.
It’s the first time Boebert has been issued a fine, dated in late November, for not wearing a mask in the House chamber. She did not file an appeal.
Miller-Meeks was previously fined $500 in May for refusing to wear a mask as part of a protest among several GOP lawmakers who questioned why the House mask mandate was still in effect when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) was advising at the time that vaccinated people didn’t need to wear them. The CDC has since rescinded that guidance following new variants that have caused breakthrough infections in vaccinated people.
That means Miller-Meeks is now on the hook for a $2,500 fine, which she did not appeal.
Greene told Newsmax, the far-right television outlet, last week that she has been fined nearly $90,000 for not wearing a mask in the House chamber. Greene, who has said she is not vaccinated, lost access to her personal Twitter account for repeatedly violating the social media platform’s COVID-19 misinformation policies.
“I’m up to almost $90,000 in fines on the House floor because I believe as a representative, in order to represent the people, I have to be willing to do it myself. So, that’s why I don’t wear a mask. I’m just trying to fight the fight for the people who are against it,” Greene said.
The House has had a mask mandate in place since July 2020, while the Senate does not have a requirement.
House Democrats established the fines to enforce the mask requirement a year ago after several Republicans declined to wear them while lawmakers were crowded in a secure space during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol.
The Ethics Committee disclosures come as COVID-19 cases are spiking among members of Congress amid the nationwide surge of cases due to the highly contagious omicron variant of the virus.
At least 21 House members and four senators have tested positive for COVID-19 since mid-December despite being vaccinated. That includes eight House members just since Friday.
The House is returning to session on Monday for the first time since mid-December with increased COVID-19 protocols in place. House leaders are encouraging all members and staff to wear more protective KN95 or N95 masks instead of cloth or surgical masks and to spend as little time in the chamber as possible.
“Members are further advised to exit the House floor immediately after voting. Members are also strongly discouraged from congregating on the House Floor and in the surrounding areas during votes,” a notice from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer’s (D-Md.) office states.
The Capitol physician revealed last week that the rate of positive COVID-19 cases at its testing site had skyrocketed from less than 1 percent to 13 percent.
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