Sen. JD Vance introduced legislation on Tuesday that aims to prohibit federal mask mandates from being imposed once again in the U.S.
The Freedom to Breathe Act “would apply through the end of 2024” and “would prohibit any federal official, including the President, from issuing mask mandates applying to domestic air travel, public transit systems, or primary, secondary, and post-secondary schools,” according to the Ohio senator’s office.
“We tried mask mandates once in this country. They failed to control the spread of respiratory viruses, violated basic bodily freedom, and set our fellow citizens against one another,” Vance, a Republican, said in a statement.
“This legislation will ensure that no federal bureaucracy, no commercial airline, and no public school can impose the misguided policies of the past. Democrats say they’re not going to bring back mask mandates—we’re going to hold them to their word,” added Vance, who was elected to the Senate in November 2022.
The senator’s office also noted that the Freedom to Breathe Act “would also prohibit air carriers, transit authorities, and educational institutions from refusing service to individuals who choose not to wear a mask.”
On Thursday, the first-term senator “will request unanimous consent on his Freedom to Breathe Act,” according to his office.
“COVID mask mandates were cruel impositions on school kids with resulting educational and emotional deficits that will burden them for years to come,” Roger Severino, vice president of domestic policy at The Heritage Foundation, said in a Wednesday tweet. (The Daily Signal is Heritage’s news outlet.)
“Unscientific, authoritarian policies created a near permanent ‘fell behind’ generation. Never again,” Severino said in the same tweet.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said “we should never put our kids back into masks” during an interview with Fox News’ Jesse Watters on Tuesday.
“So President [Joe] Biden will be masking and socially distancing all day long, and now a D.C. area elementary school just brought back masks after three kids tested positive,” Watters said. “Sen. Rand Paul, what’s the feeling like over there in Washington now?”
“It’s a crime against children,” Paul said.
“Right now, I’m having a battle with the Senate physician who wants to do three vaccines for all of our pages,” the Kentucky senator added. “They’re 18 years old, and we now know that, guess what, in America, not one healthy child died from COVID.”
I’ll repeat that, not one. The number is zero, and yet we’re forcing three vaccines, and we now know that the more vaccines you give to children, the higher the incidence of the heart inflammation.
Amid growing fears that Americans could face more COVID-19 lockdowns or mandates, several Republican candidates vying for the 2024 presidential nomination say they are firmly against such restrictive measures, The Daily Signal reported last week.
“No mask mandates,” businessman Vivek Ramaswamy told The Daily Signal. “No vaccine mandates. No lockdown ever again.”
“It is important to call out the lies told by [Dr. Anthony] Fauci,” Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., told The Daily Signal. “There was a devastating impact of their lies and theories. Human dignity comes from maximizing one’s potential, and the mandates and lockdowns hurt children, small businesses, and all Americans.”
Gov. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas reminded The Daily Signal of how he handled the pandemic within his own state: “No, I would not,” he said, asked if he would support more lockdowns or mask mandates. “During the last pandemic, as governor, we had no shelter-in-place orders or business lockdown policies in Arkansas.”
“A [Nikki] Haley administration will plan for the next pandemic and ensure we do not allow fear, government overreach, or bureaucrat-forced mandates to devastate our country ever again,” spokesman Ken Farnaso said.
Mary Margaret Olohan contributed to this report.
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