The chairman of the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis is threatening to not "recognize" any member who refuses to wear a facial mask during official proceedings.
Upset none of the Republican members donned a mask during Friday’s gathering of the committee, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn, D-S.C., issued the threat in a letter Monday to Ranking Member Steve Scalise, R-La.
Citing the "guidelines" issued by "attending physician of the Congress," Rear Adm. Brian Moynihan, Clyburn quoted that for "meetings in a limited enclosed space, such as a committee room, for greater than 15 minutes, face coverings are REQUIRED."
It also said the masks were not required only if the 6-foot social distancing requirement could be maintained, but also in addition to.
"Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician's requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician's guidance," Clyburn wrote.
It was not clear if "recognize" meant the member would be barred from the committee room or simply not recognized to speak. However, in the attending physician's guidance cited by Clyburn, it states "individual entry will be denied."
Clyburn said he had warned for Friday's meeting that all attending members of the committee must wear masks and had signage placed outside the committee room reminding attendees of the requirement.
"Yet every single Republican Member of the Subcommittee refused to comply," Clyburn wrote.
Facial masks have been a partisan issue for more than two months, with liberals and Democrats promoting them as an acknowledgement of seriousness of the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, while conservatives and Republicans viewing them as an overreaction and affront to civil liberties.
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