It’s the trollish MAGA slice of the caucus that’s championing this, but for once they have Pelosi at a disadvantage. Why, precisely, are House members still being asked to mask up on the floor? The CDC’s new guidance says that vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks, even indoors. According to CNN, every last Democrat in the House and Senate has been vaxxed. If everyone in the chamber unmasks, the only people who are at risk are unvaccinated Republicans.
Why does Pelosi care what they do?
Are there some immunocompromised members we don’t know about, maybe, and she’s looking to protect them for the moment by still requiring masks? If so, when does she plan on lifting the mask rule?
We’ve had enough. We are refusing to wear our masks on the floor during this vote in spite of Pelosi’s threat to take $500 from each of us.
Her rule is not based on science. All you need to know is the mask rule has only ever applied to members when they can be seen on TV !
— Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) May 18, 2021
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) May 18, 2021
GOP members that broke rules and went maskless on House floor take a pic right after votes. @RepBrianMast: “best $500 I ever spent.”
They wouldn’t tell us if they were vaccinated or not. pic.twitter.com/KH3mlppP2i
— Haley Talbot (@haleytalbotnbc) May 18, 2021
Ten Republicans in all went without masks today, according to Massie. How many of them were vaccinated? Unclear, although he claims that he doesn’t need to be immunized because he’s already tested positive for COVID antibodies. Either way, as much as Pelosi and her party may enjoy having Marjorie Taylor Greene and Madison Cawthorn as foils, what exactly is the scientific logic for tut-tutting them at this point for unmasking?
The point of the new CDC rule is that people who choose to remain unvaccinated are now responsible for managing their own risk. If they don’t want to wear masks in public places, they can take the consequences. If that’s good enough for Anthony Fauci and Rochelle Walensky, why isn’t it good enough for Pelosi?
Another thing working against Pelosi if she digs in on mask-wearing is that the country is awash with good news about COVID and Americans are letting down their guards accordingly. Texas, Arizona, Minnesota, and Massachusetts all had days recently where they reported no deaths from coronavirus for the first time in months. Other states like Maryland and Virginia are seeing the fewest daily deaths since the start of the pandemic. Nate Silver flagged this arresting stat from the Open Table website earlier today:
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) May 18, 2021
That’s a measure of capacity at restaurants that have been able to reopen. Open Table’s data was commonly cited in the early days of the pandemic as evidence that people were locking down even before the state got around to ordering lockdowns. Restaurant reservations booked through the site collapsed in early March 2020, presaging national quarantine. Now restaurants are filling up again — not yet to the extent they were at this point in 2019, but we’re closer than we’ve been in more than a year:
We’re just 14 percent off the pace in 2019. It’s not unthinkable that we’ll hit full normalcy in the next month or two, particularly now that the CDC has given the green light to vaccinated people to start socializing again.
Even Joe Scarborough, an avatar of Beltway conventional wisdom, thinks it’s time for mask mandates to go:
If state and city governments are obliged to trust the CDC’s guidance and ease mask rules, as Scarborough insists, why shouldn’t the House of Representatives behave the same way? Whatever your feelings about Massie and Greene, we’ve reached the “proceed at your own risk” stage of the pandemic for unvaccinated people and they’re taking full advantage. Let ’em.
I’ll leave you with Scarborough’s more cautious better half, who is not following The Science.
MSNBC’s @morningmika: “If you want to follow the science,” you should follow my lead and “still wear the mask” despite being vaccinated when you’re around possibly unvaccinated people pic.twitter.com/lTOQDgDEES
— Tom Elliott (@tomselliott) May 18, 2021