On Tuesday the US Senate voted 57 to 40 to overturn a 13-month-old public health order requiring masks on airplanes, buses, trains and other forms of public transportation, issued by the Biden administration.
All Republicans save for Utah's Mitt Romney voted to repeal the masking measure, along with eight Democrats. Romney broke ranks and voted with the other Democrats in rejecting the legislation. The repeal vote is shy of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto from Biden. President Joe Biden immediately threatened to veto the bill.
Last week, the White House extended the current mask mandates at airports, train stations, ride share vehicles, on buses and other transit options through April 18 as the previous order is scheduled to expire Friday.
Former President Donald Trump had rejected the CDC’s transit guidelines, but Biden imposed them shortly after taking office in January 2021. Last month, the CDC said it would no longer recommend masks on buses or vans operated by schools.
Republicans oppose the mandate citing a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement last week that 98 percent of Americans live in places where Americans can safely unmask indoors.
Kentucky Republican Senator Rand Paul, who introduced the bill, said that the vote "…sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates." The masking measure was never brought before Congress.
Paul was joined by all Republicans except for Romney in supporting the bill as well as Democratic Senators Michael Bennet (CO), Kyrsten Sinema (AZ), Jon Tester (MT), Mark Kelly (AZ), Joe Manchin (W.VA), Catherine Cortez Masto (NV), Jacky Rosen (NV) and Maggie Hassan (NH).
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