Republican lawmakers introduced legislation Wednesday that would ban mask mandates in schools, planes and public transportation through the end of 2024, which is being called the “Freedom to Breathe Act.”
The bill was signed by Republican senators J.D. Vance, Mike Braun and Josh Hawley. Vance is going to “force the Democrats to vote on it,” according to his statement, on Thursday, as they seek bipartisan support.
“If they say the mask mandates are not coming back, then come to the Senate floor, vote with us, and say ‘no more mask mandates,’ ” Vance said.
The legislation also makes it clear that no federal funds would be used to promote masking requirements, and that no federal funds were to be withheld on the condition the recipient follows a masking mandate.
“We’re not going to go back to the top-down government overreach we saw during COVID,” Braun said. “Congress needs to say forcefully that these ineffective, unscientific mask mandates are not coming back in any way, shape, or form.”
Earlier in September, former NIAID director Dr. Anthony Fauci publicly recommended people start masking again to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus variants. “[…] when you’re talking about an individual basis of someone protecting themselves or protecting themselves from spreading it to others, there’s no doubt that there are many studies that show that there is an advantage,” Fauci explained.
Government agencies, more specifically the CDC, have been clear they do not intend to bring back mask mandates, at least not yet.