A group of Republican senators believe it is time to unmask on public transportation, introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021, which will end federal mask mandates on travelers.
"The federal government forcing the American people to continue to wear masks despite the fact that we've already reached herd immunity is ridiculous and needs to end immediately," Senator Rand Paul said in a statement announcing the legislation. "I am introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021 to put a stop to this nanny state mandate of requiring masks on public transportation.
"In a free county, people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves."
The bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Braun, R-Ind., Tom Cotton, R-Ark., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., and Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
"It is far, far past time to end the federal government's contradictory one-size-fits-all COVID mandates, including the rule requiring masks on planes and public transportation," Braun wrote in the statement.
Federal agencies will be restricted from imposing "any federal requirement related to COVID-19 that an individual wear a face mask when utilizing any conveyance," the legislation reads, "or transportation hub."
Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., will be introducing companion legislation in the House later this week.
"There is no scientific evidence for the continuation of mask mandates on public transportation," Biggs wrote in a statement. "Bottom line, mask mandates are old news, and are only being kept in place by those who relish controlling our day-to-day lives. The viral spread is collapsing and our normal lives are returning.
"It's time for the CDC to follow the science and end the tyrannical COVID-19 restrictions once and for all."
Multiple Republicans noted the Texas Democrats that fled the state Capitol to avoid losing a special session vote on election integrity legislation, left in a private jet and social media photos showed them all happily traveling together maskless.
"Mask mandates have outlived their usefulness, yet they remain in effect on flights and other modes of public transportation," Cotton wrote in a statement. "This policy discourages family travel and forces Americans with children — especially those with disabilities — to cancel travel or else live in fear that an untimely tantrum or bad day could ruin their trip and cost them more than a thousand dollars in fines. Our bill will put an end to this unscientific and punitive practice."
It comes down to freedom and choice with the vaccinations having been prevalent throughout America, Wicker said.
"Americans have been told for more than a year to 'trust the science,' and the science now says it is safe to resume normal life once we have been vaccinated," Wicker wrote in his statement. "Getting the vaccine significantly lowers the risk of contracting and becoming sick from the coronavirus across all activities, including travel.
"I am pleased to join my colleagues in pushing to end the unnecessary federal mask mandate and bring travel in line with other major sectors of the economy."
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