Despite Capitol Police Chief Thomas Manger ordering officers to report House members not abiding by a mask mandate, the office issued a statement later Thursday backing down on the threat of arrest right about the time Congress passed $71 million in new funding for the force.
The U.S. Capitol Police tweeted a statement:
"Regarding the House mask rule, there is no reason it should ever come to someone being arrested. Anyone who does not follow the rule will be asked to wear a mask or leave the premises. The department's requirement for officers to wear masks is for their health and safety."
Manger was named the new chief of the Capitol Police just last week, and he had warned members of Congress would be subject to arrest for unlawful entry under DC Code 22-3302.
The action comes on the same day both the House and Senate resoundingly passed a $2.1 billion funding measure that delivers $71 million taxpayer funds for the Capitol Police to cover overtime costs, hire new officers, and other expenses.
The Senate approved the legislation early Thursday afternoon 98-0, and the House passed it immediately afterward 416-11. Five fiscal conservatives and six progressive Democrats, who have backed defunding the police, including the liberal Squad, voted against the funding.
It goes to President Joe Biden's desk for an official signature.
Manger tweeted a statement on the massive funding boost for his police force:
"We are extremely grateful for the hard work of our congressional stakeholders and everyone who helped pass this legislation. Today is a major step toward making necessary adjustments for our department, supporting our workforce, and carrying out our critical mission."
Republicans on Twitter flaunted opposition to the mask arrest threat.
Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., tweeted:
"This is INSANE. Might as well come into my office and arrest my entire staff. We are not wearing masks. I support the Capitol Hill Police, but the Chief of Police made a mistake here. The physician and the chief of police don't have this authority."
Massie rebuked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., for "being behind this" and using the "Capitol Police as her muscle behind this" in a tweeted video of remarks.
"She needs to start acting like a representative of the people of the United States of America, instead of like a dictator and a hypocrite," Massie said in the video, noting Pelosi was not wearing a mask in the House on Thursday.
"She is a hypocrite and a tyrant and this needs to stop, and we are fighting her today," he concluded.
Massie was among the 11 in the House to vote against the $2.1 billion funding bill Thursday, along with: Reps. Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.; Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y.; Cori Bush, D-Mo.; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.; Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.; Ilhan Omar, D-Minn.; Chip Roy, R-Texas; Bob Good, R-Va.; Tom McClintock, R-Calif.; and Ralph Norman, R-S.C.
Massie also sued Pelosi in federal court for her House mask mandate and vowed to take the fight to the U.S. Supreme Court.
This week, members of the forces assigned to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6 issued statements to Pelosi's Select Committee that Republicans rebuked as politically charged and unprofessional for members of law enforcement.
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