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GOP lawmakers appeal dismissal of Pelosi mask mandate suit

Three Republican lawmakers filed an appeal on Thursday seeking to revive their legal battle over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s mask mandate for Congress.

WASHINGTON (CN) — Three Republican lawmakers on Thursday refused to give up their legal fight over the hundreds of dollars in fines they paid for not wearing face masks on the House floor last year amid the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. House Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Thomas Massie of Kentucky and Ralph Norman of South Carolina filed an appeal on Thursday to overturn U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton’s dismissal of their case the previous day.

Two days before Walton tossed their suit, Greene tweeted that the mask-related fines she has incurred while working for Congress at the Capitol come “straight out” of her congressional paycheck.

“So, I work for free in Congress because they take all my money away,” Greene alleged in her tweet on Tuesday.

The trio of GOP lawmakers who filed the suit in July 2021 claim in legal filings that the $500 mask-related fines they have repeatedly incurred “explicitly [violate] the prohibition against salary reductions” in the 27th Amendment.

However, Walton, a George W. Bush appointee, rejected that argument on Thursday.

He ruled their compensation as congressional members is not based on the deduction of mask fines from their paychecks, rather, they are “conditionally and indirectly” paid based on their own behavior, and the mask policy and related fines, he said, do not aim to suppress opponents of mask mandates.

Pelosi has a “responsibility to ensure the protection of member and staff safety and health during proceedings” which “is of paramount importance, particularly in the midst of a pandemic,” he said.

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