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TSA Extends Mask Mandate For Planes, Paul Promises To Force A Vote Ending Mandates

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced Thursday that it is extending 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.

“Forty-nine states have lifted their mask mandates, and the last holdout – Hawaii – will end its mandate on March 25,” Tea Party Patriots Action said in response to the news. “The Biden Administration’s response?  Extend the mask mandate on planes, trains, and in transit hubs until April 18.  And when the new deadline comes, they’ll probably extend it again.”

“Our economy, our health, our children and their education – all of them harmed by unnecessary and damaging lockdowns, vaccine mandates, and mask mandates,” the organization added. “The Administration made the wrong decision today.  We’re not surprised.”

Republican Kentucky Senator Rand Paul had promised earlier Thursday 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. “Not on my watch! I’ll be forcing a vote next week to end this unscientific mandate.”

Paul referenced his late February announcement that he would force a vote on a resolution to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation.

“Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science,’” he said in a statement at the time. “But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes.”

“As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness,” he added. “That is why I am forcing a vote to repeal travel mask mandates on public transportation and put a stop to this anti-science, nanny state requirement.”

In July 2021, Paul introduced the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021, legislation that would prohibit mask mandates for public transportation.

The Republican senator has also been vocal in his condemnation of vaccination mandates. In early February, Paul and Republican Kentucky Rep. Thomas Massie visited the D.C. burger bar, the Big Board, shut down by the city for violating Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vaccine mandate.

Paul also welcomed the prospect of a trucker convoy coming to Washington, D.C. in protest of COVID restrictions and mandates.

I’m all for it,” Paul said in February. “Civil disobedience is a time-honored tradition in our country, from slavery to civil rights, you name it. Peaceful protest, clog things up, make people think about the mandates.”

“And some of this, we started,” he added. “We put [COVID-19] mandates on truckers coming across the border from Canada so then they put mandates on, and the truckers are annoyed. They’re riding in a cab by themselves, most of them for eight, 10-hour long hauls, and they just want to do what they want to do. It’s their own business.”

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