GOP lawmakers are rallying behind Sen. Rand Paul’s (R-KY) measure to end the federal mask mandate — which currently requires travelers to wear masks while using public transportation, including planes and trains — demanding to “put an end to the nanny state.”
On Wednesday, Paul introduced the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021, which would bar federal agencies from enforcing mask mandates on modes of public transportation. The bill’s text reads:
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal agency shall impose any Federal requirement related to COVID-19 that an individual wear a face mask when utilizing any conveyance (as defined in 2 BAI21446 06S S.L.C. 1 section 70.1 of title 42, Code of Federal Regulations, or 2 any successor regulation) or transportation hub.
On Wednesday, Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ), the House Freedom Caucus chair, announced that he will introduce a companion bill to Paul’s measure.
“Senator Paul is right, put an end to the nanny state. The American people can make their own health decisions without government interference,” he said:
This Friday, I will be introducing a companion bill of @RandPaul's Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021.
Senator Paul is right, put an end to the nanny state.
The American people can make their own health decisions without government interference. https://t.co/RDzOcflUzA
— Rep Andy Biggs (@RepAndyBiggsAZ) July 14, 2021
Others are rallying behind the cause as well.
“Mask mandates have outlived their usefulness, yet they remain in effect on flights and other modes of public transportation,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who co-sponsored the Senate bill, said in a statement, adding that the mandate burdens families — particularly those who have disabled family members who are unable to wear masks:
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 is far, far past time to end the federal government’s contradictory one-size-fits-all COVID [Chinese coronavirus] mandates, including the rule requiring masks on planes and public transportation,” Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN), another bill co-sponsor, said.
Last month, Senate Democrats blocked Sen. Rick Scott’s (R-FL) and Sen. Mike Lee’s (R-UT) effort to end the federal mask mandate, dubbed the Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act.
“I’m actually shocked that my colleague from the state of Washington doesn’t want to follow the science,” Scott said at the time. “Americans would do the right thing. It is not our job to dictate and tell them how to live their lives.”
This week, Democrat members of the Texas state legislature smiled gleefully, maskless, while on a plane en route to Washington, DC, shirking their legislative duties in protest of election integrity measures.