House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has challenged House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over her decision to continue to enforce COVID-19 restrictions at the U.S. Capitol.
McCarthy is urging Pelosi to reconsider her restrictions and re-open the U.S. Capitol to pre-pandemic operations given that more and more Americans are now receiving the vaccination aimed at mitigating the spread of the pandemic.
“Today, we have multiple vaccines with significant efficacy rates. COVID-19 cases and deaths are falling nationally. And experts predict a return to normalcy may be closer than we think,” the Republican leader wrote in his letter.
He cited a newly released Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guideline that provides recommendations for how and when a fully vaccinated individual can visit other people who are fully vaccinated and with those who are not vaccinated.
According to those guidelines, fully vaccinated people can visit other vaccinated people indoors without wearing masks or social distancing, visit unvaccinated people from a single household who are at low risk of contracting severe the virus, and can be exempted from quarantine and testing after an asymptomatic exposure. The guidelines also recommend individuals to continue taking precautions in public.
Roughly 75 percent of House members have been fully vaccinated or will be by the end of this week, McCarthy noted.
He asked the House Speaker whether she has any plans to reopen Congress, end the practice of proxy voting in the House, when in-person committee work can return to full time, and when visitors will be allowed to tour the U.S. Capitol and view Congress from the gallery.
He also questioned her about the current security measures put in place following the Jan. 6 breach of the Capitol. Earlier this week, the Pentagon announced that around 2,300 National Guard troops will stay in Washington at the Capitol through to May 23.
At a press conference on March 9, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the extension serves to address law enforcement concerns and support the Capitol Police. The Capitol police had requested the additional help from the Pentagon.
“It’s not just about a threat assessment, it’s about assisting and supporting capabilities that the Capitol Police may now lack and may need to look at improving on their own,” he said, adding that Capitol Police and their capabilities “may not be at the level where [they] need to be, given the fact that we’re in sort of a new environment in this country.”
Republicans have been critical of the Democrats’ decision to continue with their security posture, saying that there were no more credible threats to the Capitol.
“I think we’re way overreacting to the current need,” Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told reporters. “I’m extremely uncomfortable with the fact that my constituents can’t come to the Capitol with all this razor wire around the complex. It reminds me of my last trip to Kabul [Afghanistan].”
McCarthy ended the letter arguing “it’s time that we return to regular order.”
“House Republicans are eager for the chance to reopen the People’s House, restore America’s voice in Congress, and work day in and day out to address the many concerns our constituents face,” he wrote.
Pelosi’s office did not immediately respond to The Epoch Times’ request for comment.
Mimi Nguyen-Ly contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times