Members of Congress Could Face Fines for Not Wearing Masks as COVID-19 Cases Increase After Capitol Assault

Some members of Congress could be seen not wearing masks as they were instructed to evacuate during last Wednesday's insurrection.
Some members of Congress could be seen not wearing masks as they were instructed to evacuate during last Wednesday's insurrection.(Getty)

At least three Democratic members of Congress have now tested positive for COVID-19 after sheltering in place with their maskless colleagues.

Rep. Brad Schneider announced Tuesday that he has tested positive for COVID-19, six days after he and more than 100 members of Congress – including many who are outspoken for not wearing masks – sheltered in place together during the storming of the U.S. Capitol last Wednesday. Now, House Democrats are proposing a bill that would issue a $1,000 fine to any member of Congress who refuses to wear a mask on Capitol grounds.

“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” Congresswoman Debbie Dingell said in a press release. “We’re done playing games. Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine.”

Schneider is at least the third Democratic member of Congress who has tested positive since the assault on the U.S. Capitol.

“Today, I am now in strict isolation, worried that I have risked my wife’s health and angry at the selfishness and arrogance of the anti-maskers who put their own contempt and disregard for decency ahead of the health and safety of their colleagues and our staff,” Schneider, of Illinois, said on Twitter. “We can no longer tolerate Members coming to the floor or gathering in the halls of Congress without doing the bare minimum to protect those around them.”

Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman, a 75-year-old cancer survivor from New Jersey, was the first to announce a positive COVID-19 test on Monday, blaming both the insurrection and the maskless colleagues with whom she sheltered in place.

“While I am experiencing mild, cold-like symptoms, I remain in good spirits and will continue to work on behalf of my constituents,” Coleman said on Twitter.

Rep. Pramila Jayapal also announced her positive test on Monday, saying in a statement, “Many Republicans still refused to take the bare minimum COVID-19 precaution and simply wear a damn mask in a crowded room during a pandemic — creating a superspreader event on top of a domestic terrorist attack.”

The congresswoman from Washington said she is in isolation and despite battling the virus, she plans to keep working to the best of her abilities, vowing, “I will not rest until I do everything in my power to remove this President from office.”