Senate Democrats on Wednesday blocked Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) effort to end the federal mask mandate requiring masks to be worn on public transportation, with Scott concluding Democrats only care about following “their political science.”
Last week, Scott introduced the Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act, which would bar the federal government from requiring Americans to wear masks on public transportation, but he could not garner unanimous consent to get the bill out of committee and onto the floor.
“The government has no right to tell them what to do,” Scott said of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on the floor Wednesday, asking why the government agency continues to single out airlines and public transportation.
“Now, the science is clear that broad mask mandates aren’t necessary. Unfortunately, the CDC has decided to buck the science when it comes to travel and it is still requiring face masks on public transportation,” he said.
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) opposed the measure, citing the spread of the Delta variant and the number of unvaccinated people in the U.S.
“We cannot pretend this pandemic is over. This virus is still spreading, it is still mutating, it is still costing lives, and it is still leaving survivors with long-haul symptoms,” she said.
“And, the new delta variant is more contagious, likely to send people to the hospital, and already in our country,” Murray added.
“I’m actually shocked that my colleague from the state of Washington doesn’t want to follow the science,” Scott said. “Americans would do the right thing. It is not our job to dictate and tell them how to live their lives.”
“While we choose to listen to the science, all the Democrats care about is following their political science,” Scott added in a press release.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) followed the Biden administration’s lead and released an order “requiring the wearing of masks by people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs to prevent spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 [Chinese coronavirus],” which went into effect February 1. The original order was set to expire May 11, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended it until September 13.