Nancy Pelosi Chides Members for Violating Health Protocols

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) waves a gavel during the first session of the 117th Congress in the House Chamber at the US Capitol on January 3, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis / POOL / AFP) (Photo by TASOS KATOPODIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
TASOS KATOPODIS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

Newly reelected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) chided members over strict adherence to “respecting proper health and safety guidelines” on the House floor in the era of the Chinese coronavirus less than 24 hours after making an exception, allowing exposed lawmakers to break quarantine to vote in the speakership election, which she won by less than a majority.

“With a sense of urgency, I write about respecting proper health and safety guidelines on the Floor, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” the speaker told House members on Monday, according to Fox News congressional reporter Chad Pergram.

Pelosi explained that an “unexpected intervention yesterday evening relating to not seating Members from states subject to an Electoral count challenge resulted in Members ignoring the Floor procedures that were established to keep Members safe,” contending that the “intervention was not an invitation to gather on the Floor.”

“As we go forward, please note with respect the guidance set forth by the Office of the Attending Physician and the Sergeant at Arms. When staff urge you to leave the Floor, it is not a suggestion,” she said, adding that it is, in fact, a “direction” in the interest of keeping members of Congress healthy.

“As Members of Congress, we are considered essential workers,” she added, urging members to take their responsibility “seriously” by wearing a mask “at all times,” respecting proper social distancing, and limiting the number of House members on the floor:

Pelosi’s warning follows exceptions made for lawmakers, who were supposed to be in quarantine due to exposure to the virus, allowing them to cast votes in the tight speakership election on Sunday. Exposed members reportedly used a separate entrance and “secure enclosure” to cast their votes.

The 80-year-old California lawmaker ultimately won the speakership role by 216 votes — less than a 218 majority.

House minority leader Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) gained 209 votes, while three Democrats voted present, and two others cast their votes for someone other than Pelosi.

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