WASHINGTON (WCMH) — Sherrod Brown took the fight over wearing masks to the Senate floor on Monday.
Brown, a Democratic senator from Cleveland, called out Republican Dan Sullivan of Alaska, who was seated up front as the presiding officer, for not wearing a mask with Senate staffers working in front of him.
“I’d start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks and people (are) below him,” Brown said after being given the floor. “I can’t tell you what to do, but I know that the behavior —”
Sullivan interrupted and said, “I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking, like most senators. … I don’t need your instruction.”
Brown, at a lecturn several feet away and wearing a mask, continued, expressing frustration at President Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Senate for recent actions such as approving Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
“There clearly isn’t much interest in this body in public health,” Brown said. “We have a president who hasn’t shown up at the coronavirus task force meeting in months. We have a majority leader (Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.) who calls us back here to vote on an unqualified nominee.
“And at the same time, to vote for judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people who can’t say anything … all the staff here. And the majority leader just doesn’t seem to care.”
Control of the Senate for next year, when President-elect Joe Biden takes office, remains unclear. Republicans have taken 50 seats and Democrats 48, with the two Senate races in Georgia headed to run-off elections. If the Democrats win both of those seats, they would take control with Vice President-elect Kamala Harris serving in her role as the Senate tiebreaker.
Ohio did not have any Senate races in 2020. Brown last won reelection in 2018, and Republican Rob Portman in 2016.