Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi said it's "unfortunate" that some members of Congress have not yet been vaccinated against Covid-19 and defended the congressional mask rules, which are still in place despite the updated guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
While the CDC now says fully vaccinated people can go maskless in most situations, Pelosi said that until more members of Congress are vaccinated, the chamber can not meet without masks.
"It is unfortunate that a large number of people in the Congress have refused to be vaccinated — or I don't know what it is, I don't know, refused or have been vaccinated and don't want to to admit — I don't know what that is, because I shouldn't know, it's their personal business," Pelosi said at a news conference today. "As the doctor said, until they are vaccinated, we cannot have meetings without masks."
"We have a responsibility to make sure that the House of Representatives' chamber is not a petri dish because of the selfishness of some not to be vaccinated."
Some context: A CNN survey of Capitol Hill last week found Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress have a 100% vaccination rate against Covid-19, significantly outpacing Republicans in the House and Senate and illustrating the partisan divide over the pandemic.
For Republicans, at least 44.8% of House members are vaccinated and at least 92% of senators are, CNN found.