McCarthy asks Pelosi when Capitol will return to pre-pandemic normal for proxy voting, tours, masks and more
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy on Wednesday asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi a series of questions on when the Capitol will begin to get back to normal after the coronaviruspandemic, including on proxy voting and public access to the building.
The Capitol is under militarized security following the Jan. 6 attack on the building by a pro-Trump mob. But it hasn't been open to the public for nearly a year since the pandemic began to spread through the United States, shutting down the economy and forcing tens of millions to work from home.
McCarthy, R-Calif., citing progress on vaccines and drops in case rates around the country, asked Pelosi, D-Calif., on Wednesday when she would begin taking steps to bring the Capitol back to its pre-pandemic operations.
"Nearly a year ago to the day, you made the decision to close the Capitol to visitors and begin implementing new protocols to govern access and movement of the members and staff of the Capitol complex," McCarthy said in a letter. "But since that time, we have learned more about the virus and have made monumental strides in our scientific and technological endeavors."
Among the areas of progress, McCarthy said, are "vaccines with significant efficacy rates," dropping coronavirus case and death rates, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance allowing those who are fully vaccinated to be more relaxed in following social distancing and masking rules.
"And to date, roughly 75 percent of House members have been fully vaccinated, or will be by the end of this week," McCarthy said.
He then asked Pelosi when she plans on ending the new House practice of proxy voting, which was put in place to limit potential virus spread among members; bring committees back to in-person work; allow public visitors in the Capitol and nearby office buildings; and relax face mask rules on the House floor.
"Simply put: it's time we return to regular order," McCarthy said.
Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Fox News about McCarthy's letter.
The pandemic is likely not to be fully over for months, as federal and state governments aim to get as many people vaccinated as possible as quickly as they can. President Biden has said there will be enough vaccines for every adult in the United States by the end of May, though it will take longer than that to administer them to everyone. GET THE FOX NEWS APP
But multiple states have begun rolling back their coronavirus restrictions significantly, including Texas and Mississippi, which recently removed all coronavirus rules on businesses' operation.
Nearby Maryland, meanwhile, just lifted many of its coronavirus rules specifically on travel and indoor capacity limits for restaurants and other businesses. Maryland left in place its mask mandate and still requires bars and restaurants to implement seated and socially distanced service.
Nevertheless, the mass manufacture of vaccines and steadily improving distribution nationwide has provided Americans a light at the end of the tunnel of the pandemic about one year after the coronavirus-related shutdowns began.
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