Clyburn to Select Subcommittee Republicans: “Masks Save Lives” and are “Required” in Hearings

Jun 29, 2020
Press Release

Washington, D.C. (June 29, 2020) – Today, Rep. James E. Clyburn, Chairman of the Select Subcommittee on Coronavirus Crisis, sent a letter to Ranking Member Steve Scalise condemning Subcommittee Republicans’ decision not to wear masks at an in-person hearing on Friday, June 26, and citing their responsibility to “protect our colleagues, our staffs, our witnesses, the Capitol Police, and custodial and other frontline workers from potentially deadly exposure to the coronavirus.”

The Chairman wrote, “I am writing to express my profound disappointment that the Republican Members of the Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis refused to wear masks during Friday’s hearing, which was held one day after the United States reached the highest number of new coronavirus cases on record, and after the disease has already killed more people in the United States than in any other nation on Earth.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance that calls for the use of masks to help lower the risk of coronavirus exposure and spread during gatherings and events, and the Attending Physician of Congress issued guidelines requiring Members to wear masks at all Committee hearings.

“My Republican colleagues’ refusal to wear masks is perplexing because you have asked repeatedly to hold in-person hearings, and you assured me that this could be done safely,” the letter continued. “In response, I told you that I would work in good faith to hold in-person hearings if we could do so safely and consistent with the Attending Physician’s guidelines.

“Going forward, as long as the Attending Physician’s requirement to wear masks is in place, I will not recognize any Member of this Subcommittee to participate in person in any Subcommittee meeting or hearing unless the Member is wearing a mask and strictly adheres to the Attending Physician’s guidance.  Members who do not wish to wear a mask are welcome to participate remotely, in accordance with House Resolution 965.”

Click here to read the letter to Ranking Member Scalise. 

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116th Congress