by Eric Lendrum
Two Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.), have racked up nearly $150,000 in combined fines for refusing to wear masks in the House chamber.
According to The Hill, Congresswoman Greene has been fined a total of $88,000 for 36 different violations. Congressman Clyde has been fined at least $60,500 for 25 violations since September. The combined total is $148,500.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) implemented the mask mandate in the House chambers in July of 2020, with Pelosi ordering fines for members who refused to wear masks starting in January of 2021. Lawmakers who refuse to comply are fined $500 the first time, and $2,500 for each subsequent offense. Members who refuse to pay the fines will have the amounts deducted from their salaries, which is roughly $174,000 for each member, although members in leadership positions earn even more.
Greene and Clyde are the only members of the House to have openly defied the mask mandate more than twice. At least nine other Republicans have been fined for previous offenses: Reps. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.), Bob Good (R-Va.), Thomas Massie (R-Ky.), Brian Mast (R-Fla.), Mary Miller (R-Ill.), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-Iowa), Ralph Norman (S.C.), Chip Roy (R-Texas), and Beth Van Duyne (Texas). Of these nine, only Miller-Meeks was fined twice, while the other eight were all only fined once.
Speaking out about her fines, Congresswoman Greene rhetorically asked “you know what’s really expensive? People getting fired for not taking a vaccine that they feel they don’t need.”
Increasingly frustrated with some members and staffers refusing to comply, Democrats have recently turned to threats of physical force to enforce the mandates. Last week, Assistant Speaker Katherine Clark (D-Mass.) wrote a letter to Sergeant-at-Arms William Walker, begging him to have non-compliant members physically removed from the chamber.
“This callous disregard for House rules endangers the health of members of Congress and the professional staff,” Clark falsely claimed, “whose physical presence is required to ensure continuity of government. That is why, in addition to imposing fines, I am requesting that your office begin requiring members who fail to comply with this rule to attend the House floor from the isolation boxes in the House gallery.”
But Walker admitted during testimony before Congress that there is little he can do to enforce the mandate, noting that “I see people — members, staff — without masks. And I’ll walk up to them and I’ll ask them to put the mask on. And some just walk away from me.”
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Eric Lendrum graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he was the Secretary of the College Republicans and the founding chairman of the school’s Young Americans for Freedom chapter. He has interned for Young America’s Foundation, the Heritage Foundation, and the White House, and has worked for numerous campaigns including the 2018 re-election of Congressman Devin Nunes (CA-22). He is currently a co-host of The Right Take podcast.
Photo “Marjorie Taylor Greene” by Marjorie Taylor Greene. Photo “Andrew Clyde” by House Creative Committee. Background Photo “FFP and Surgical Face Masks” by Nurse Together. CC BY 4.0.