Democrats Push for Mask Mandate, Republicans Object
Democratic lawmakers want to reinstate a nationwide mask mandate as the Delta variant continues to spread. Republicans fiercely oppose this violation of personal rights and have accused Democrats of exploiting the pandemic to control the public.
“Make no mistake – the threat of bringing masks back is not a decision based on science, but a decision conjured up by liberal government officials who want to continue to live in a perpetual pandemic state,” argues House Minority Leader Kevin McCarty (R-CA).
On Wednesday, several Republican lawmakers expressed their frustrations by refusing to wear masks despite a mandate ordered by the Capitol’s physician and threats of fines from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
“We can’t come to the floor, and I can’t execute my constitutional duty, unless I wear a mask,” complained Texas Republican Rep. Chip Roy. “Which is it? Vaccines or masks? Either the vaccines work or they don’t work. Do the masks work or they don’t work? I’d like to know which it is…This institution is a sham, and we should adjourn and shut this place down.”
“This is all a ruse. This is all political theater,” Kentucky Republican Rep. Thomas Massie added, noting that House staff were only enforcing the physician’s mask policy in areas with media coverage.
Democrats say they are simply following the CDC’s latest recommendations – that all individuals regardless of vaccination status should wear masks when inside public places. Though the agency itself is under fire for issuing new rules with little supporting evidence. The lack of transparency has made officials reluctant to reimpose mask mandates on communities that are just now returning to normal.
“I think a lot of the frustration is coming with just the blanket absorption of CDC guidance that shifted based upon what they’re citing as two unpublished studies that by virtue of being unpublished no one else can look at,” said Rep. Peter Meijer (R-MI), adding that one study the agency is citing as evidence was conducted in India where participants did not receive the same vaccines offered in the United States.
California Democrat Rep. Norma Torres blames the partisan animosity on Donald Trump. The former President opposed mask rules as an infringement of personal rights.
“What continues to drive a wedge between Republicans and Democrats is the fact that the former president is still very active in their politics,” she said. “They’re still very afraid of him. Some of them want to be him, some of them just want to follow him, and some of them just want to regurgitate what he says because they’re afraid that if they don’t, they won’t get reelected.”
Author’s Note: Reinstating the mask mandate at this point makes no sense. Yes, there has been an increase in cases recently but we’re nowhere near the levels we saw last year. And in most cases when fully vaccinated people contract COVID, the symptoms are mild.
The CDC itself has confirmed that the vaccines are very effective at preventing serious illness, hospitalization, and death from COVID.