Congressional aides and visitors to the House side of the Capitol will face arrest if they’re not wearing masks, the head of the U.S. Capitol Police announced this week.
In a Wednesday letter to his officer corps, Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger ordered that they enforce the new mask guidelines across the Capitol complex. Those new rules, installed by the Capitol physician earlier in the week, include a mask mandate on the House side of the Capitol and all House office buildings.
The new policy has been hammered by House Republicans, who say it’s merely an effort by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to exert control over half of the Capitol. Still, she has law enforcement now on her side.
“If a visitor or staff member fails to wear a mask after a request is made to do so, the visitor or staff shall be denied entry to the House Office Buildings or House-side of the U.S. Capitol,” Manger wrote in his letter. “Any person who fails to either comply or leave the premises after being asked to do so would be subject to an arrest for Unlawful Entry.”
Although the same mask mandate applies to members of Congress, the same strict enforcement will not. Rather, Capitol Police are asked to report recalcitrant lawmakers to supervising officers “who will, in turn, refer the matter to the House Sergeant at Arms,” wrote Manger, who took over as head of the Capitol Police just a week ago.
The letter was blasted out on Twitter Thursday morning by GOP Rep. Kat Cammack (R-Fla.). Although the policy originated from the Capitol Police chief, Cammack characterized it as “today’s edition of Pelosi’s abuse of power.”
Rep. Nancy Mace (R-S.C.) went a long step further, announcing that she will not wear a mask outside the House chamber, and daring Pelosi to discipline her.
Madam Speaker, your insane power grab is showing. Today I’m not wearing a mask outside of the chamber b/c I follow science — not Pelosi. Come and get me. pic.twitter.com/7vDNn4Tzke— Nancy Mace (@NancyMace) July 29, 2021
Madam Speaker, your insane power grab is showing. Today I’m not wearing a mask outside of the chamber b/c I follow scien… (Read more)