Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) spoke out on Monday to send a brutal warning to lawmakers about adhering to social distancing amidst the COVID-19 pandemic after several politicians from both parties were caught flouting the guidelines on Sunday night.
Instead of following social distancing measures on the House floor, hundreds of lawmakers gathered in small groups during a vote, clearly violating the guidelines put in place to limid the spread of coronavirus. Some lawmakers were even seen not properly wearing masks that covered their noses and mouths.
House members not setting a great example of social distancing during this floor vote right now… pic.twitter.com/Vwk47X0abf
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) January 3, 2021
Pelosi penned a letter to her fellow lawmakers in which she reminded them of the importance of “respecting proper health and safety guidelines on the floor,” according to The Hill.
“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,” Pelosi wrote.
“As Members of Congress, we are considered essential workers. We must take our responsibility seriously,” she continued, going on to direct lawmakers to “wear masks at all times,” “respect social distancing” and “limit the number of Members on the floor.”
Though House leaders had made plans to limit the number of representatives on the floor at one time on the first day of Congress, they unexpectedly were forced to cast a vote after Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) challenged the seating of lawmakers from Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. He argued that his Republican colleagues who plan to challenge the presidential election results in those states should also question the results down the ballot.
This meant that lawmakers had to gather on the floor during the vote as they typically did pre-pandemic instead of entering and exiting the chamber in groups like they have in recent months.
“The unexpected intervention yesterday evening relating to not seating Members from states subject to an Electoral count challenge resulted in Members ignoring the Floor procedures that were established to keep Members safe,” Pelosi wrote. “The intervention was not an invitation to gather on the Floor.”
Many lawmakers from all over the country have been accused of hypocrisy in recent months after being caught violating their own guidelines. Some of these politicians will never learn.