Marjorie Taylor Greene made a big show of repeatedly refusing to wear a face mask on the House floor in May, claiming that her rights were being violated. Her flouting of the coronavirus safety precautions earned her a $500 fine, which she appealed.
On Tuesday the House Ethics Committee rejected her appeal, and those of Reps. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) and Ralph Norman (R-S.C.), and they all will have to pay up.
Nearly a dozen lawmakers, all of them Republican, defied the mask mandate instituted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Six of them were fined.
In her appeal Greene argued that she didn’t need to wear a mask because “those who are vaccinated… [or have] overcome COVID-19 are conferred immunity to the virus.” As is evident with the current spread of the Delta variant of the coronavirus, vaccines cannot be considered 100 percent effective. And, Greene has refused to publicly state whether she has had COVID-19 or if she’s been vaccinated.
When she was asked during a press conference on Tuesday if she has been vaccinated, Greene inaccurately said the question is “a violation of my HIPAA rights.” It isn’t. HIPAA requires health care providers to prevent the disclosure of sensitive information about patients. It does not prevent Greene from discussing her own health care matters.
Given the increasing numbers of so-called “breakthrough” infections among the vaccinated it is entirely possible that Brian Monahan, the Capitol’s attending physician, may recommend re-instituting a mask mandate. “Future developments in the coronavirus Delta variant local threat may require the resumption of mask wear for all as now seen in several counties in the United States,” he wrote in a staff update.