Two Republican House lawmakers, Thomas Massie and Marjorie Taylor-Greene, threw out letters from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warning against violating the mask mandate in the lower chamber of the US Congress.
Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie posted a picture of the letter, tossed in a wastebasket, that reads: "Pursuant to House Resolution 38, you were observed not wearing a mask on the Floor of the House on May 18, 2021. You were then asked by a member of my staff to wear a mask while in the Hall of the House of Representatives, unless recognized to speak by the chair".
The notice from Pelosi warned the congressman that a further violation would result in an initial $500 fine. According to the Courier Journal, Massie was eventually fined on Thursday.
A similar message was tweeted by Taylor-Greene, who revealed on Wednesday that she had used a paper shredder to get rid of her notification. The lawmaker claimed that people who “simply won't wear a mask” can’t be “discriminated”.
Pelosi first introduced the mask policy in the House in July 2020, after a number of GOP lawmakers refused to use masks while the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended that everyone wear face coverings.
In January, House Democrats introduced fines for those who forgo masks. Violators of the mask mandate are subject to a $500 fine if the first warning is ignored. Additional offenses of the mandate would result in a $2,500 fine.
This week, a number of Republicans have been fined for removing their face masks on the House floor, including Representatives Mariannette Miller-Meeks, Beth Van Duyne, Brian Mast, and others.
This month, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated people are allowed to ditch masks outdoors and may stop wearing them indoors in most cases, except for crowded places. Immunised Americans can now also stop social distancing measures in most settings. Despite the updated guidelines, the House has not changed its mask policy.