Last updated on March 16, 2022
The United States Senate passed a resolution Tuesday to end mask mandates for public transportation.
Headed by Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the resolution garnered bipartisan support, resulting in a 57-40 vote with eight Democrats voting in favor of the resolution.
Republican Utah Sen. Mitt Romney was the only Republican to vote against the resolution.
“Today, the Senate said enough is enough, and sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates,” Paul said in a statement following the vote, The Daily Caller reported.
“Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science,’” he said. “But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes.”
Paul said he forced the vote because the federal government is using “fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates” while the world learns to “live with COVID.”
The Kentucky senator also called for “clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness.”
On Thursday, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced it would extend its mask mandate a month longer than expected, until April 18.
“At CDC’s recommendation, TSA will extend the security directive for mask use on public transportation and transportation hubs for one month, through April 18th,” an administration official told Fox News.
“During that time, CDC will work with government agencies to help inform a revised policy framework for when, and under what circumstances, masks should be required in the public transportation corridor,” the official added.
“This revised framework will be based on the COVID-19 community levels, risk of new variants, national data, and the latest science. We will communicate any updates publicly if and/or when they change.”
The mandate’s previous deadline was March 18, the publication reported, noting that a group of 92 Republicans had sent a letter demanding an end to the mandate to TSA Administrator David Pekoske on Wednesday.
Paul had promised to force a vote in mid-March ending “unscientific” mask mandates on planes and public transportation.
“Apparently government doesn’t want to relinquish its power and plans to extend the mask mandate on planes & public transportation,” tweeted the Republican senator on Thursday before the TSA announcement. “Not on my watch! I’ll be forcing a vote next week to end this unscientific mandate.”
Senators also voted Tuesday on Paul’s amendment to eliminate the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) position, which is held by Dr. Anthony Fauci, and to replace the NIAID with three separate national research institutes.
Republican Senators Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, and Jerry Moran of Kansas each voted against the amendment, which failed.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past two years, but one lesson in particular is that no one person should be deemed ‘dictator-in-chief,’” said Paul when he introduced the amendment Monday, adding, “No one person should have unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans.”
“This will create accountability and oversight into a taxpayer funded position that has largely abused its power, and has been responsible for many failures and misinformation during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the senator added.
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