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Congresswoman Dingell introduces bill that would fine maskless Congress members

"It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk."
Credit: AP
Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Mich, speaks to reporters on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Tuesday, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) introduced legislation that would fine members of Congress $1,000 for not wearing a mask on Capitol grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re done playing games. Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine. It’s not that complicated,” Congresswoman Dingell said.

The bill comes after legislators have reported contracting the virus after the riot lockdown at the Capitol, where Republican lawmakers refused to wear masks. 

RELATED: Third lawmaker in lockdown tests positive for COVID-19

“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” said Dingell. “Days ago, a colleague of ours died from this virus and left behind a beautiful, young family to mourn his loss. Yet still, in the midst of a deadly assault on our United States Capitol, a number of our Republican colleagues laughed off rules designed to keep not just their colleagues safe, but to protect the lives of the teams of workers keeping things going, law enforcement, and staff throughout the Capitol. Now, three of our colleagues are suffering from the virus.”

“Members refusing to mask and distance in the Capitol put other Members, aides, support staff and their families at risk,” said Congressman Brown. “There must be consequences for selfish and reckless actions that endanger the lives of others."

The fine would cost members of Congress $1,000 for each day they refused to wear a mask on the grounds of the Capitol.

The legislation is co-sponsored by Nikema Williams (GA), Mondaire Jones (NY), Alcee L. Hastings (FL), Donald M. Payne, Jr. (NJ), Tom Malinowski (NJ), Jerry McNerney (CA), Hakeem Jeffries (NY), Mark Pocan (WI), David N. Cicilline (RI), John Garamendi (CA), Grace Meng (NY), Yvette D. Clarke (NY), Mike Levin (CA), Adriano Espaillat (NY), and Mark DeSaulnier (CA).

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