Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), who this week introduced a measure to repeal the federal mask mandate requiring masks to be worn on modes of public transportation, mocked Texas Democrats who smiled maskless aboard a plane as they fled the state to avoid their duties to consider election integrity measures.
“Didn’t realize Texas Dems supported my repeal of the mask mandates!” Paul exclaimed, referencing the infamous picture of Texas state lawmakers flashing peace signs and smiling gleefully as they sat aboard a plane without masks:
Didn't realize Texas Dems supported my repeal of the mask mandates! pic.twitter.com/HbqwFgl0Dh
— Senator Rand Paul (@RandPaul) July 16, 2021
This week, Paul introduced the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021, which would prevent federal agencies from imposing mask requirements on modes of public transportation.
It reads in part:
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.
“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,” Paul said in a statement.
“In a free country, people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves,” he added, garnering support from his colleagues who called to “put an end to the nanny state”:
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
However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has shown no signs of significantly altering its Face Masks Order, which requires “face masks to be worn by all people while on public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and U.S. territories.”
It also required “all people to wear masks while at transportation hubs (e.g., airports, bus or ferry terminals, train and subway stations, seaports, U.S. ports of entry, and other locations where people board public transportation in the United States and U.S. territories), including both indoor and outdoor areas.”
The CDC provided an update on June 10, slightly amending the order to no longer require individuals to wear masks in “outdoor areas of conveyances (if such outdoor areas exist on the conveyance) or while outdoors at transportation hubs.”
Nonetheless, Marty Cetron, director for the CDC’s Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, has defended the agency’s mask order, describing masks as a “powerful” part of their “arsenal.”
“Masks are really powerful and we should make sure they’re part of our arsenal,” Cetron said, according to Reuters.
“We mask not just to protect ourselves – we mask because it’s the way we take care and express our concern for each other,” he continued, adding, “I get we’re all just over this emotionally but I do think we will succeed together if we realize the virus is the enemy and it’s not your fellow citizen or the person sitting next to you on a plane or a piece of cloth that you have to wear over your face.”