(PresidentialWire.com)- As Senators returned to Washington, D.C., this week, one thing was notably missing from most of their attire: A mask.
On Monday, as Senators returned to the Capitol building, most were not wearing the face masks that have become a symbol of the coronavirus pandemic since last year. Following last week’s new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Senators who are fully vaccinated ditched their masks.
The CDC guidance says that people who are fully vaccinated don’t have to wear masks anymore in almost all settings, whether they are outdoors or indoors. People are considered fully vaccinated when they are at least one week removed from their second Pfizer shot, or two weeks removed from their second Moderna shot or single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
South Dakota Senator John Thune said it would be up to each individual senator to decide whether he or she would still wear a mask. He said:
“I think it’s just kind of the CDC guidance,” for why many senators ditched the masks altogether.
The Senate leaders of both the Republicans and Democrats went without a mask during Monday’s procedural votes. Neither Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell nor Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer wore a mask.
Immediately following the new guidance being released last week, Schumer left the Capitol with his mask on, while McConnell took his off, saying he was “free at last.”
While the party leaders both didn’t wear masks, their number twos were split. Thune didn’t wear his mask on Monday, while Illinois Senator Dick Durbin, who is the Democratic whip, wore his mask on the Senate floor.
Oddly enough, the decision on whether or not to wear a mask on Monday wasn’t evenly split between Republicans and Democrats. Most Republicans didn’t wear their masks in the Senate chamber, but there were plenty of Democrats who didn’t, either.
On the flip side, there were some Republicans who still wore their masks, including Mike Rounds from South Dakota, Richard Shelby from Alabama and Cindy Hyde-Smith from Mississippi.
Other Senators wore their masks as they entered the Senate chamber but then decided to take them off once they were settled into their seat. Many more liberal Democrats, though, kept their masks on.
This included Bernie Sanders from Vermont, Robert Menendez from New Jersey, Brian Schatz from Hawaii, Gary Peters from Michigan, Ben Cardin from Maryland, Ron Wyden from Oregon and Elizabeth Warren from Massachusetts.
CNN conducted a survey earlier in May that found that 96 of the 100 U.S. Senators were fully vaccinated. That would allow all but four members to remove their masks completely under the new guidance the CDC issued.
Over in the lower chamber, the House decided to keep its mask requirement in place. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi did relax the requirement a little bit, though, allowing representatives to remove their masks while they were speaking on the floor.
Still, the House extended their proxy voting policy for another month due to the ongoing pandemic.