A group of Republican senators, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), have called on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to change regulations to allow fully vaccinated Americans to no longer need to wear masks on public transportation networks.
In a resolution introduced on Friday, June 25, the senators urged the CDC to review and update its guidance relating to mask-wearing in confined places to clarify that individuals fully vaccinated against COVID–19 no longer need to wear a mask at airports, onboard commercial aircraft, on over-the-road buses, on commuter buses and rail systems throughout the country.
The lawmakers also want the Transportation Security Administration to update its mask requirements to be consistent with the CDC, to permit the vaccinated individuals to travel on all transportation networks throughout the United States without wearing a mask.
In a statement on the resolution, Sen. Cruz said that more than 150 million American people had been fully vaccinated against the coronavirus and mask mandates have been lifted across the country, “but the CDC inexplicably still hasn’t lifted the mask mandate for public transportation.”
“It’s long past time for President Biden and the CDC to follow the science and end this mask mandate for fully vaccinated individuals,” Cruz said. He added that Americans “should be able to travel to celebrate Independence Day with their friends and loved ones without having to follow an outdated and unnecessary mandate.”
Cruz is a top Republican on the Senate’s aviation subcommittee. Joining him on the resolution includes Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.), the most senior Republican on the Senate Commerce Committee, along with Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), and Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), according to Newsmax.
These lawmakers argued the change would incentivize a greater number of individuals to receive the COVID–19 vaccine.
“Joe Biden has lectured Americans to ‘follow the science.’ It’s clear that this rhetoric was just another way for the radical left and big government to control Americans,” Sen. Blackburn said. “Experts have been clear for months—if you are vaccinated you do not need to wear a mask.”
“It’s time we end these absurd political charades and start following the science,” she said.
Sen. Collins added that “the CDC recently released recommendations significantly curtailing mask requirements both in indoor and outdoor settings.”
“It makes no sense that someone can go to a restaurant without wearing a mask, but they cannot fly on an airplane without one even though it has a far better ventilation system,” the Maine senator said.
The CDC last month said the fully vaccinated individuals could stop wearing masks in nearly all indoor spaces, with transportation one of the few exceptions. On April 30, the Transportation Security Administration extended orders to enforce mask requirements through Sept. 13.