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

Go deeper

23 hours ago - Health

CDC changes "close contact" guidance for COVID-19

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photos: Noam Galai, Jamie McCarthy, Josep LAGO / AFP, Alfredo ESTRELLA / AFP, and Narayan Maharjan/NurPhoto, all via Getty Images

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention expanded its definition of who is considered a “close contact” of an individual infected with the coronavirus in a report released Wednesday.

Why it matters: The update is likely to pose challenges for schools, workplaces and other group settings as the U.S. prepares for a third coronavirus wave. It also reinforces the importance of masks in the face of President Trump’s repeated attempts to belittle their efficacy.

17 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Chris Christie: Wear a mask "or you may regret it — as I did"

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (C) and other guests at the White House Rose Garden ceremony for President Trump's Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on Sept. 26. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R), who was hospitalized with COVID-19, implored people in a Wall Street Journal op-ed Wednesday to wear masks "or you may regret it — as I did."

The big picture: Christie didn't wear a mask when he helped President Trump prepare for the first presidential debate nor during the White House Rose Garden ceremony for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett in September. "I let my guard down and left my mask off," Christie wrote in the WSJ article.

Oct 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

McConnell urges White House not to strike stimulus deal before election

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Getty Images

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has urged White House negotiators not to cut a deal with Democrats on new coronavirus stimulus before the election.

Driving the news: McConnell informed Senate Republicans of the move at a closed-door lunch on Tuesday, two people familiar with his remarks tell Axios. McConnell's remarks were first reported by the Washington Post.