It was reported that the Senate this week approved an amendment that is in opposition to the federal regulations that require masks for public transportation: such as trains, planes and subways.
The biggest surprise of the initiative was eight Democrats who teamed up with the GOP colleagues to approve the resolution in a 57-40 majority. One Republican senator who did not support the legislation is Mitt Romney from Utah.
The measure is now going to the House; however, it's still unclear whether it will be approved by the House President, California Democrat Nancy Pelosi, and whether it will be put to a vote.
The resolution was considered as part of the Congressional Review Act. It required only one vote to pass the Senate and was not examined under the filibuster rule of 60 votes.
Just last week the Biden administration extended their deadline for masks on planes as well as other public transportation options. This new date was set to be on April 18, which was a month earlier than the original timeline was.
It was reported that the White House administration said that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will work together with the other agencies of the federal government in the development of a revised policy regarding when it would be required to wear masks on public transport. This revised policy is to be based on COVID-19 community levels as well as the risk posed by the new variants, data from the world, as well as the most recent research.
Prior to the vote, GOP leaders stated their arguments to eliminate the mask requirements. Republican Senator Roger Wicker from Mississippi declared, “This is a free nation. If somebody would like to wear a face mask for a five-hour journey between one American capital to another city, there's no reason that they shouldn't be allowed to do it. The evidence we've received during the Commerce Committee, from the airlines and researchers is that airline air is the most secure air Americans can breathe indoors or anywhere else.”
The resolution was spearheaded by Kentucky Republican senator Rand Paul. With his direction, the resolution managed to gain the support of both parties, leading to the vote of 57-40.
Senator Paul made a statement following the vote, “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 that as of March of 2020, it's been bureaucrats that are not elected who have repeatedly stated that the public has to “follow the science.” He also noted these same bureaucrats swore to science by making people wear unhelpful and restrictive masks while traveling on public transportation.
The Kentucky senator said that he felt that he had to get the vote to pass as the government used “fear-mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates.” He explained that the government was not willing to give up its power, and that's why they extended their mask mandate until April.
Experts were asked to provide “clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness.”
There were 92 Republicans who wrote an email prior to the vote to TSA director David Pekoske. They demanded the end of the requirement for masks when flying on planes.
Another intriguing development is that senators have approved Paul's amendment to eliminate the Directorship of National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID). This is the job which Dr. Anthony Fauci holds.
The amendment stated to replace it by three nationwide research centers. The amendment was rejected due to the reality that these Republican senators opposed the amendment: Richard Burr of North Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine, Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Mitt Romney of Utah, along with Jerry Moran of Kansas.
Senator Paul said his belief that among the things we should have learned in the last 2 years was that not single person should be considered what he calls”a “dictator in chief.” He stated that one individual should not be given “unilateral authority to make decisions for millions of Americans.”
Let's all hope that we can have another chance to make that change a reality.