Savannah Hulsey Pointer, FISM News
The Senate passed a bill sponsored by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to repeal mask mandates on public transit with eight Democrats backing the measure on Tuesday. Sen. Mitt Romney (Utah) was the lone Republican to stand against the measure.
The resolution passed on a 57-40 vote to end mask mandates on planes, trains, and other forms of public transportation. The make-up of the vote marked a notable political shift towards ending pandemic restrictions.
In addition to Romney crossing party lines with his vote, Democrats Kelly (Ariz.), Hassan (N.H.), Sinema (Ariz.), Manchin (W.Va.), Bennet (Colo.), Cortez Masto (Nev.), Rosen (Nev.), and Tester (Mont.) voted with the majority of Republicans on the issue.
After the vote Paul used his floor speech to send a message to “unelected government bureaucrats” to stop promoting “anti-science.”
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. Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ 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. That is why, I forced this vote, and I applaud the Senate for rejecting this nonsense.
The vote comes after the Biden administration moved last week to extend transportation mask mandates, which were set to expire Friday, to April 18. At the time Paul said he would “force a vote” on the mandate.
The bill, while symbolic, has little chance to be enacted as it would still need to pass through the House. Even if it were to garner enough Democratic support to pass, President Biden has already said he would enact his veto power on the bill.
Meanwhile, Republicans and Democrats were also divided on another COVID-related issue yesterday. Six Republican senators voted against an amendment Tuesday that would have eliminated the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) position, which is a position currently held by Dr. Anthony Fauci.
Paul was also the driving force behind this bill. Paul, who is himself a doctor, has consistently sparred with Fauci over medical issues throughout the course of the pandemic. In an op-ed written for Fox News, Paul explained that the measure “would eliminate Dr. Fauci’s position as NIAID director,” and “divide his power into 3 separate institutes.”
Republicans Richard Burr (N.C.), Susan Collins (Maine), Bill Cassidy (La.), Lisa Murkowski (Ark.), Mitt Romney (Utah), and Jerry Moran (Kan.) each voted against the amendment.
The Republicans have not made comments on why they opposed the bill.