House abandons COVID protocols during Pelosi reading oath
House speaker reelect reads Congressional oath to large grouping of lawmakers.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reminded her congressional colleagues to adhere to coronavirus guidelines while in session after members of both parties were accused of not taking the pandemic seriously, including during Pelosi's reading of the oath of office.
Pelosi sent a letter to her fellow members of Congress reminding them of the rules on Monday and addressed the issue from the House floor after receiving backlash for allowing a large number of members to gather too close together.
DEMOCRATIC CONGRESSWOMAN VOTES ON HOUSE FLOOR 6 DAYS AFTER ANNOUNCING POSITIVE CORONAVIRUS TEST
"The chair would like to remind members that the chair has authority and responsibility to preserve order and decorum in the chamber … to that end, the chair reminds all members that as a matter of decorum they are required to wear masks at all times in the halls of the house even while under recognition," Pelosi said on Monday. "In addition, members must practice proper social distancing and should not linger in the chamber after casting their votes."
Pelosi said members violated floor procedures when Rep. Chip Roy, R-Texas, objected to seating representatives from states with "contested election results."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi administers the oath of office to members of the 117th Congress at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021. (Tasos Katopodis/Pool via AP)
"When staff urge you to leave the Floor, it is not a suggestion. It is a direction, in the interest of keeping the Congress healthy and intact. As Members of Congress, we are considered essential workers. We must take our responsibility seriously," she wrote in the letter.
HOUSE LAWMAKERS ABANDON SOCIAL DISTANCING AS PELOSI READS OATH TO NEW MEMBERS
Rep. Gwen Moore, D-Wis., generated outrage when she voted on the House floor on Sunday, despite announcing six days ago that she tested positive for coronavirus. Moore quarantined for two weeks but has not tested negative for the virus, she told reporters Sunday.
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Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and another new Republican House member were involved in a dispute over masks as the 117th Congress met for the first time on Sunday, Punchbowl News journalist Jake Sherman reported.
"Speaker Pelosi changed the COVID rules because she is desperate to cling to the gavel. No one can attack me about masks, when Pelosi is sending Democrats to the floor with positive COVID tests to vote for her for Speaker," Greene wrote on Twitter in an apparent reference to Moore.
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