House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked committee chairmen to exclude members who fail to comply with requirements to wear masks during committee proceedings, according to a senior Democratic aide familiar with guidance issued Tuesday.
The members can always choose to participate virtually in committee activities, the aide said. The move follows guidance from the Office of the Attending Physician, which says that face coverings are required for U.S. House gatherings in a limited, enclosed space like a committee room, that last longer than 15 minutes.
Pelosi’s move follows the announcement Monday from Representative Tom Rice, a Republican from South Carolina, that he and his family had tested positive for Covid-19 and were recovering. Several other lawmakers have similarly tested positive.
Pelosi late Tuesday asked committee chairs to require masks at a hearings and said that the Sergeant at Arms will enforce the requirement and deny entry to lawmakers who refuse to comply, according to the aide, who asked for anonymity to discuss information that isn’t yet public.
Chairmen and chairwomen will have the power to refuse to let lawmakers without masks speak.
The House Judiciary Committee meets Wednesday to discuss a police overhauling bill, H.R. 7120, and will be enforcing the mask requirement for members.