U.S. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Rome, says her refusal to wear masks in Congress has led to nearly $90,000 in fines.
In an interview with Newsmax on Wednesday, the first-term representative said she is against vaccine and mask mandates, particularly for children, and that she takes the fines on the floor of the House of Representatives because she believes doing so accurately reflects the feelings and beliefs of the constituents she represents.
"I believe as a representative that in order to represent the people, I have to be willing to do it myself," Greene said. "So, that's why I don't wear a mask, and you know, I'm just trying to fight the fight for people who are against it."
House rules dictate that members are fined $500 the first time they do not wear a mask, with that fine increasing to $2,500 for every subsequent offense.
The fines are deducted directly from the paychecks of House members, meaning Greene could see more than half of her annual $174,000 salary disappear as a result.
Even so, she stood firm in her claims that masks are ineffective at limiting the spread of COVID-19.
"I think it's obvious by the high amount of cases and how COVID has continued in very shutdown areas that masking doesn't work. There's studies that show that as well as vaccinated people continuing to catch COVID, and that's greatly concerning to me. I'm a big believer in lifesaving treatments and I would love to see that to be the track that we pursue instead of mandating masks and vaccines," Greene said. "I'm very much against masks, especially for children. I think that it's awful to mask children when they virtually have no threat from COVID. Kids need to be free to speak, smile and learn, and the best way they can do that is without a mask on their face."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as health experts at the Georgia Department of Public Health, still say masking provides the best protection against getting or spreading COVID-19 because masks protect both the individual wearing the mask and others around them.
Additionally, the CDC recommends every person over the age of 2 who is not fully vaccinated wear a mask indoors and suggests masking in crowded outdoor settings or during activities that require close contact with others who are not fully vaccinated. Children can get COVID-19, and, according to data provided by the CDC, children ages 5 through 11 years experienced more than 8,300 COVID-19 related hospitalizations and nearly 100 deaths from COVID-19 through mid-October 2021.
Health leaders continue to push vaccination as an important step toward limiting the risk of hospitalization and deaths caused by COVID-19 across virtually every age group.
All Georgia residents over the age of 5 are eligible for vaccination. Georgians older than 16 are eligible for boosters six months after completing their primary vaccine series of either Moderna or Pfizer, or two months after their Johnson & Johnson vaccine. Only the Pfizer vaccine is authorized for booster doses in 16- and 17-year-olds.
To find a COVID-19 vaccination location, visit dph.georgia.gov/covid-vaccine.
Contact Kelcey Caulder at email@example.com or 423-757-6327. Follow her on Twitter @kelceycaulder.