WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — Freshman Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia says she has amassed a total of $63,000 in fines so far for refusing to wear a mask on the floor of the Democrat-controlled U.S. House of Representatives, but she has no intention of letting the penalties change her decisions.
Masks were required for lawmakers on the House floor last year in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 across the United States. The requirement was lifted this past summer after dissemination of the COVID vaccines but reinstated in July after a guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
“I’m up to $63,000,” Greene told The Hill last week, explaining that the fines are automatically deducted from offending lawmakers’ pay. “I’m not vaccinated either. And I won’t be getting vaccinated. And that’s my own personal choice. I support people that want the vaccine. If anybody wanted one, I would drive them to go get one because I support people’s freedom to make their own decision. But I do not want to get the vaccine myself, and I don’t need to wear a mask. It’s not changing anything.”
Greene framed her noncompliance as a protest to highlight the human cost of COVID mandates. “Well, you know what’s really expensive? People getting fired for not taking a vaccine that they feel they don’t need,” she said.
In May, Greene was one of six Republicans fined for refusing to mask themselves on the floor. For good measure, she filmed herself at the time shredding a warning letter on the subject:
This is what I think of Speaker Pelosi’s letter. #FreeYourFace pic.twitter.com/9uujzmtCCP
— Marjorie Taylor Greene 🇺🇸 (@mtgreenee) May 19, 2021
Available evidence suggests that masks played little, if any, in reducing the virus’ spread across the United States over the past year, such as the CDC’s September acknowledgement that masks cannot be counted on to keep out the coronavirus when spending 15 minutes or longer within six feet of someone, or a May 2020 study published by CDC’s peer-reviewed journal Emerging Infectious Diseases that “did not find evidence that surgical-type face masks are effective in reducing laboratory-confirmed influenza transmission, either when worn by infected persons (source control) or by persons in the general community to reduce their susceptibility.”
In late May, another study found that, though mandates effectively resulted in higher levels of mask wearing, “mask mandates and use (were) not associated with lower SARS-CoV-2 spread among U.S. states” from March 2020 to March 2021. In fact, the researchers found the results to be a net negative, with masks increasing “dehydration … headaches and sweating and decrease cognitive precision,” and interfering with communication, as well as impairing social learning among children.