It was reported last week that three Republican U.S. House members lost appeals to the House Ethics Committee challenging fines for not wearing face masks on the House floor earlier this year.
U.S. Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA), Thomas Massie (R-KY) and Ralph Norman (R-SC) were the trio who had filed the appeals of the $500 fines that were issued in May.
Today, they announced that they have filed a lawsuit against House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in U.S. District Court at a press conference.
Reps. Massie, Taylor Greene and Norman have sued Speaker Pelosi for fining them because they did not wear masks on the House floor.— Ben Feuerherd (@benfeuerherd) July 27, 2021
Suit filed today in DC federal court —> pic.twitter.com/g1iKtb0L5m
In a tweet last night, Greene prefaced the announcement and said, “We’re announcing a federal lawsuit against @SpeakerPelosi, the Queen of the #HouseOfHypocrites. Proud to have @RepThomasMassie and @RepRalphNorman standing by my side.”
Massie tweeted out earlier today in response to an interview Pelosi gave on Sunday where she said that she thinks House members should return to face-masking.
In the tweet, Massie declared, “We will fight this. She wants masks nationwide, she wants them on all of our school kids this fall. She knows if she can make it happen for the TV cameras in the House chamber, she can make it happen anywhere. Not happening Pelosi!”
We will fight this. She wants masks nationwide, she wants them on all of our school kids this fall. She knows if she can make it happen for the TV cameras in the House chamber, she can make it happen anywhere. Not happening Pelosi ! pic.twitter.com/05M58hbj2s— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) July 27, 2021
Previously, the AP reported:
The Republicans challenged the fines in June, arguing that the mandate was out of sync with recent federal guidance on face coverings during the COVID-19 pandemic. The vote in question happened a week after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance noting that “fully vaccinated people can resume activities without wearing a mask or physically distancing.”
At the time, face coverings were still required on the floor, a mandate put in place by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in June 2020. Even after the updated CDC guidance in May, Dr. Brian Monahan, Congress’ attending physician, wrote that “mask requirement and other guidelines remain unchanged until all Members and floor staff are fully vaccinated.”
“I voted on the House floor without wearing my mask,” Norman wrote. “I did so because I was following the direction of our nation’s top scientists that fully vaccinated individuals do not need to wear a mask.”
In her appeal, Greene called the fine “arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, and otherwise not consistent with law or with principles of fairness.”
A handful of Republican lawmakers were fined. Greene, Massie and Norman, along with Rep. Mary E. Miller of Illinois, took a maskless selfie on the House floor.
On June 11, the requirement was lifted, with Monahan writing that fully vaccinated members, staff and visitors to the chamber could shed their masks. Norman said in his appeal that he has been fully vaccinated since February. Both Greene and Massie have said they have not taken the vaccine.
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