‘It’s my choice’: Colorado congressman admits to being among 25% of House members who have decided NOT to be vaccinated, fueling debate about when the chamber will be able to return to normal
- House voting has been slowed down by social distancing rules
- Congress has its own batch of vaccine doses for members and some staff
- Push by GOP leaders to return to pre-pandemic voting
- Polling shows 33 per cent of Republicans nationwide don’t plan to get vaccinated
A full quarter of House members have yet to be vaccinated for the coronavirus despite Congress getting an early batch of shots in order to ensure ‘continuity of government.’
There is no party breakdown on the cohort that has avoided getting the vaccine. Surveys have shown a substantial partisan gap, with Democrats more likely to say they will get vaccinated than Republicans, and Independents in between.
The chamber is narrowly divided, with Democrats controlling the rules and schedule with their 220-211 majority.
‘I won’t be taking it. The survival rate is too high for me to want it,’ said Rep. Madison Cawthorne told Axios in December.
Also avoiding the vaccine is Republican Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado. ‘It is my choice,’ Buck told Fox Business late last year. I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not and in this case I am not going to take the vaccine.’
Republican leaders continue to chafe at rules changes pushed through by the majority to provide proxy voting for floor voting amid the pandemic. The practice has allowed Speaker Nancy Pelosi to have the House pass legislation even when there are absences – although a gaggle of Republicans took advantage of the rules to attend CPAC in person in Florida this year.
A quarter of House members has yet to get the coronavirus vaccine, despite Congress having a dedicated batch – as Republicans push to roll back rules on proxy voting
A CBS / YouGov poll showed 33 per cent of Republicans would not get a vaccine when available, compared to 10 per cent of Democrats and 23 per cent of Independents.
Axios reported on the spat among parties about when pre-pandemic voting rules could return. It already brought dueling charges during a colloquy on the House floor.
Citing the reports of the 75 per cent figure, House minority leader Steve Scalise said ‘there’s a strong desire to get back to a regular floor schedule.’
‘It would be a lot simpler if every member had been vaccinated,’ shot back Majority Leader Steny Hoyer.
House minority leader Steve Scalise (La.) said ‘ there’s a strong desire to get back to a regular floor schedule’
Representative from Georgia Marjorie Taylor Greene (R) has filed multiple motions to adjourn, slowing down House action
Covid precautions have stretched out House voting times, requiring more time to push through legislation
A total of 22 governors haven’t yet been vaccinated, Business Insider reported – 13 Republicans and nine Democrats. Many said they were awaiting their turn based on state guidelines for others.
An initially flurry of House members blasted out images of themselves getting vaccinated when vaccine was first allocated to Congress under the Trump administration. But there was some pushback online as many of their constituents waited for their own doses.
Distancing guidelines have slowed the pace of voting in the House. Adding to the delays have been efforts by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) to offer motions to adjourn, further delaying action on Democratic agenda items.
According to govtrack, 73 House and Senate members have been diagnosed with the coronavirus, and 126 have self-isolated or gone into quarantine.