House Republicans on Friday introduced a bill to ban what they call the ''tyrannical'' federal mask mandates.
"There is no scientific evidence for the continuation of mask mandates on public transportation," Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., the bill's sponsor, told Fox News in a statement. "Bottom line, mask mandates are old news, and are only being kept in place by those who relish controlling our day-to-day lives. The viral spread is collapsing and our normal lives are returning. It's time for the CDC to follow the science and end the tyrannical COVID-19 restrictions once and for all."
Biggs' bill serves as the House companion to Sen. Rand Paul's legislation introduced in the Senate two days ago, the ''Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021,'' which prohibits federal agencies from imposing ''any federal requirement related to COVID-19 that an individual wear a face mask when utilizing any conveyance … or transportation hub.''
"The federal government forcing the American people to continue to wear masks despite the fact that we've already reached herd immunity is ridiculous and needs to end immediately," Paul told Fox News. "I am introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021 to put a stop to this nanny state mandate of requiring masks on public transportation."
He added: "In a free country, people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves."
Republicans say the mandate doesn't take science into account.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued guidance in May stating that fully vaccinated people are no longer required to wear masks indoors or outdoors, or continue social distancing.
"The science has made clear how effective the vaccines are, and we are reaching the point at which those choosing to remain unvaccinated have taken on that risk to themselves, not to anyone else," said Rep. Bob Gibbs, R-Ohio. "We cannot only ‘follow the science' when it is politically convenient and ignore it, like we are now, when it no longer conforms to bureaucrats' desire for power."
A CDC official on Friday said the mandates were a key tool in preventing COVID-19 transmission.
"Masks are really powerful and we should make sure they're part of our arsenal," said Dr. Marty Cetron, director of the CDC's Division of Migration and Quarantine, in an interview. "We mask not just to protect ourselves — we mask because it's the way we take care and express our concern for each other."
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