WASHINGTON, D.C. (LifeSiteNews) — The U.S. Senate this week passed a measure with bipartisan support to prohibit future mask mandates on public transportation, including plane travel.
The U.S. Senate passed the amendment as part of an appropriations bill on Wednesday in a 59-38 vote, drawing support from 10 Democrats in addition to many Republicans, Fox News reported.
The initiative had been brought forward by U.S. Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio to “ensure that no federal bureaucracy, no commercial airline, and no public school can impose the misguided policies of the past.”
After introducing his Freedom to Breathe Act in September, Vance had intended to draw Democrat support, hoping to hold congressmen to their promises that the mandates would not make a comeback, LifeSiteNews reported at the time.
“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,’” the Ohio senator said. “Let’s make it bipartisan.”
The amendment is meant to block federal funding to block enforcement of mask mandates on public transportation, including planes, trains, and buses, through Fiscal Year 2024.
The Democrats who voted in favor of the ban were: Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Michael Bennet of Colorado, Sherrod Brown of Ohio, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Mark Kelly of Arizona, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Jacky Rosen of Nevada, Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire, and Jon Tester of Montana.
“Today, the United States Senate took an emphatic step toward common sense and individual liberty,” Sen. Vance said in a Wednesday statement reacting to the vote. “I’m proud of what we’ve accomplished here and look forward to continuing the fight.”
“This is a massive victory for personal freedom in this country,” he said. “We saw countless abuses of authority throughout the COVID pandemic, and the American people were justifiably enraged by unscientific mask mandates.”
In a piece for The Republic Brief, columnist Jeff Miller referred to Vance’s ability to bring together a degree of bipartisan support for the prohibition as a “political miracle.”
“By compelling Democratic representatives from politically diverse states to publicly declare their stance on mask mandates, which are not widely favored by the population, Vance successfully garnered significant bipartisan backing,” Miller wrote.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2021 imposed a top-down mask mandate forcing travelers to cover their faces to fly on planes or use other methods of public transportation, Fox pointed out. The mandate was struck down in April 2022 by a federal court in Florida.
The vote on the measure to shut down any new federal mask mandates comes as masking to prevent COVID infection has been shown to be ineffective and even harmful.
Atlas said that research going back to May 2020 has consistently found that “there is no evidence that masks reduce the infection, spread, or protect the wearer” and that the oft-touted “N-95 masks are no different from surgical masks in that respect.”
“To say that masks work is like saying the earth is flat,” Atlas said.