WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator JD Vance’s (R-OH) amendment to the Senate minibus appropriations bill prohibiting the Department of Transportation from using any federal funds to enforce mask mandates passed in the Senate today. The final vote count was 59-38. The ban prevents the enforcement of federal mask mandates on passenger airlines, commuter rail, rapid transit buses, and any other transportation program funded through Fiscal Year 2024.
“This is a massive victory for personal freedom in this country,” said Senator Vance. “We saw countless abuses of authority throughout the COVID pandemic, and the American people were justifiably enraged by unscientific mask mandates. Today, the United States Senate took an emphatic step toward common sense and individual liberty. I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here and look forward to continuing the fight.”
Watch Senator Vance’s remarks on the Senate floor here and below:
Senator Vance: “We are unfortunately in a world where COVID will be with us for the rest of our lives. That is not a good thing, it’s not a thing to celebrate, but it is a thing to accept. What we do not have to accept, and what we do not have to make part of our lives, is the never-ending cycle of public health panic that greets the rise of a respiratory virus, that there is very little we can do to stop or control.
“What we do not have to accept is airline passengers fighting amongst each other and fighting with flight attendants because the flight attendants are asked to enforce a mask mandate. What we do not have to accept is that we respond to a public health problem with panic and with fear. We know, of course, that the era of mask mandates caused a lot of problems.
“It caused problems for our kids, it caused developmental delays for schoolchildren, it caused a lot of rancor and a lot of division within our common American family. If people want to wear masks, of course they should be able to. But if people don’t want to wear masks on airplanes, on transit, they should have that option as well, and that’s all that my amendment does.
“It is narrowly scoped. It applies for the next 11 months and applies to transportation cases. And I think it is reasonable to not ask the American people to reenter the era of mask mandates. My amendment does that, and I ask that my colleagues support it.”
- In September, Senator Vance introduced the Freedom to Breathe Act, which would have prevented the reimposition of federal mask mandates in the United States.
- “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,” said Senator Vance.“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.”
- That same month, Senator JD Vance held a joint press conference on his push to ban federal mask mandates. The effort was joined by Senators John Thune (R-SD), John Barrasso (R-WY), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Ted Budd (R-NC), & Eric Schmitt (R-MO).
- Senator Vance’s bill also earned the endorsement of the U.S. Air Marshal Association.