(CNN)Florida Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz donned a gas mask Wednesday while he voted on a bill that would dedicate billions of dollars to combating coronavirus as concerns rise over the spread of the disease.
“Reviewing the coronavirus supplemental appropriation and preparing to go vote,” Gaetz tweeted with a picture of himself wearing a gas mask while looking at a piece of paper before the vote.
Gaetz later wore the mask onto the House floor, according to a photo tweeted by Rep. Jim Himes, a Connecticut Democrat.
The comments from Gaetz, a longstanding defender of President Donald Trump, follow an announcement earlier Wednesday of the 11th US death from the disease as the global toll of coronavirus deaths continues to climb into the thousands. Health officials have urged Americans to stop buying masks out of concern of a shortage for health care workers, and Vice President Mike Pence, whose office is in charge of coronavirus-related messaging, reiterated the point during a press briefing earlier Wednesday, saying that “there is no need for Americans to buy masks” to protect themselves.
Gaetz ultimately voted in support of the bill, which passed 415 to 2, with 13 members not voting. It provides $7.8 billion in appropriations to address the outbreak of coronavirus as well as an additional $500 million to fund a telehealth program in an effort to help expand access to health services for seniors.
But Gaetz said later that while he backed the bill “because we must have resources now to prevent further spread,” he “didn’t feel good about it” due to the lack of spending cuts to offset the spend.
“$8Billion+ in spending