Jun 29, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Clyburn says House coronavirus committee won't recognize members who don't wear masks

James Clyburn.

Rep. James Clyburn. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

The House's select committee on the coronavirus crisis will not recognize members who do not wear a mask while in session, Chair James Clyburn (D-S.C.) told his Republican colleagues in a letter sent Monday.

The big picture: The move comes after every Republican in the committee did not wear a mask at last Friday's hearing, despite being warned to do so prior to the meeting, according to Clyburn.

  • Clyburn said that those members who prefer to not wear masks can participate remotely.

The big picture: While members of Congress are required to wear masks at committee hearings, they have become something of a partisan marker — igniting a divide especially among Republicans, many of whom argue the requirements infringe on personal liberties.

What he's saying: "Masks save lives. As members of Congress, we have a responsibility to protect our colleagues, our staffs, our witnesses, the Capitol Police, and custodial and other frontline workers from potentially deadly exposure to the coronavirus," Clyburn wrote.

  • "My Republican colleagues' refusal to wear masks is perplexing because you have asked repeatedly to hold in-person hearings, and you assured me that this could be done safely. In response, I told you that I would work in good faith to hold in-person hearings if we could do so safely and consistent with the Attending Physician’s guidelines."
  • “Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance."

Read the letter.

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