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Congressman calls for ban on stylized masks on House floor

Rep. Jim Banks says some of the mask messages 'diminish the seriousness and decorum of the house floor.'

A member of Congress is calling out some lawmakers for the messages or images they have on their facemasks while in the chamber.

Rep. Jim Banks, R-Ind., sent a letter to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi saying that some of the mask messages "diminish the seriousness and decorum of the house floor" and that there should be a ban on stylized masks.

One case Banks specifically references is Speaker pro tempore Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, who wore a mask that appeared to show his campaign logo as he was seated in the Speakers' chair on Dec. 3.

"All members are disallowed from wearing campaign pins on the House floor, and this is no different," Banks wrote. Video of Cuellar in his mask aired on C-SPAN. Banks said that could be a violation of House rules banning Congressional broadcasts for partisan political purposes.

Credit: C-SPAN
Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Texas, presides over the House of Representatives, Dec. 3, 2020.

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The other was a mask worn by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., which Banks claimed to show marijuana leaves. Oregon is one of several states where recreational marijuana use is legal. 

Blumenauer fired back at Banks' complaint Monday, according to CNN.

"We've got a blatantly discriminatory drug policy. We've got a pandemic, during which Republicans have done nothing to help families and small businesses that are desperate. And they're worried about a pattern on a mask? Get a grip," Blumenauer said.

The Democrat-controlled House approved a bill last week to decriminalize and tax marijuana at the federal level. Republicans mostly opposed it. The bill is expected to die in the Republican-controlled Senate.

"Speaker Pelosi, you've allowed facemasks to be worn on the House floor that wouldn't be allowed in a High School assembly hall," Banks wrote, saying there should be a blanket ban on stylized face masks.

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