Dingell, Brown Propose $1,000 Fine for Maskless Members
Legislation would ensure safety and health of Members of Congress & staff
Washington, January 12, 2021
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Congressman Anthony Brown (D-MD) today introduced legislation that would impose $1,000 fines on any Member of Congress refusing to wear a mask on Capitol Grounds during the COVID-19 pandemic. After Representatives Bonnie Watson Coleman, Pramila Jayapal, and Brad Schneider tested positive this week, the lawmakers’ proposal responds to the potential super-spreader event that occurred as the United States Capitol was attacked last week.
“It is not brave to refuse to wear a mask, it is selfish, stupid, and shameful behavior that puts lives at risk,” said Congresswoman 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.
“We’re done playing games. Either have some common sense and wear a damn mask or pay a fine. It’s not that complicated,” Dingell continued.
“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. No Member of Congress should be able to ignore the rules or put others at risk without penalty. As the people’s representatives it is critical that we set an example for the rest of the country. If Members jeopardize the safety of others they should face fines.”
Specifically, the legislation would amend the House rules and institute a $1,000 fine per day for any Member of Congress who refuses to wear a mask on the grounds of the Capitol during the COVID-19 pandemic. This rule change would be in effect until the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention deems it is safe not to wear a mask. The legislation is cosponsored 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).