Pelosi to make masks mandatory on the House floor

House Speaker announces she will soon make masks mandatory on the House floor, after a GOP lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19.

Elad Benari ,

Nancy Pelosi
Nancy Pelosi

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) announced on Wednesday that she will soon make masks mandatory on the House floor, after a GOP lawmaker tested positive for COVID-19 earlier in the day, The Hill reported.

Pelosi said on a weekly call with leaders in the House Democratic caucus that she will make the masks mandatory, according to a source on the call. Masks up to this point have only been recommended on the House floor, but it has not been enforced.

The plan to make masks a requirement was announced hours after Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tested positive for COVID-19. Gohmert has been among the handful of GOP lawmakers spotted on the House floor in recent weeks without a mask while mingling with colleagues.

Pelosi already moved last month to require the use of masks in committee hearings. That came shortly after another GOP lawmaker, Rep. Tom Rice (SC) tested positive for the coronavirus.

Some committee leaders, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) and House Select Committee on the Coronavirus Crisis James Clyburn (D-SC), have since made it a policy to not grant speaking time to any lawmaker not wearing a mask.

Though President Donald Trump has in the past said he would not wear a mask, earlier this month he was seen wearing a mask for the first time during a visit to the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

Reports said that Trump's agreement to don a mask in public was the result of heavy "pleading" by aides, who urged the President to set an example for his supporters by wearing a mask on the visit.

Last week, Trump warned that the coronavirus crisis in the United States is likely to "get worse before it gets better" and urged Americans to wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the highly contagious virus.