Jul 17, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Rep. McCarthy to require masks at Republican conference

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wearing a mask on July 2.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy wearing a mask on July 2. Photo: Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) will require his GOP colleagues to wear face masks for a conference next Tuesday to prevent the coronavirus from spreading in Congress, Bloomberg first reported and McCarthy's team confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: McCarthy upped his past recommendation that lawmakers wear masks to a requirement this week. Democrats previously complained that some Republicans were appearing on the House floor and in committees without face coverings, threatening not to recognize members who refused to mask up in session.

Those attending the in-person Republican-only conference next week will receive temperature checks at the door and be required to wear masks and maintain social distance.

  • However, not all 197 House Republicans can attend the meeting because of social distancing measures. Only 131 members can RSVP.

The big picture: Congressional Republicans have started advocating for face coverings and rigorous COVID-19 testing as case counts are increasing in several states, including Florida, Texas and Arizona.

Go deeper: Where the science stands on using face masks against coronavirus

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