(The Center Square) – Part of U.S. Sen. J.D. Vance’s plan to stop federal mask mandates passed the Senate on Wednesday afternoon.
Vance, R-Ohio, attached an amendment that would ban federal mask mandates on public transit to the Senate minibus bill. The amendment cleared the Senate by a 59-38 vote.
“This is a massive victory for personal freedom in this country,” Vance said. “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.”
The amendment prohibits the U.S. Department of Transportation from using federal funds to enforce mask mandates in response to the COVID-19 virus through the current fiscal year.
It also prevents federal mask mandates on passenger airlines, commuter rail, rapid transit buses and any other transportation program funded through the end of fiscal year 2024.
“It is narrowly scoped,” Vance said. “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.”
The minibus bill would provide funding for military construction, along with the U.S. Departments of Veterans Affairs, Agriculture, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development.
As previously reported by The Center Square, Vance introduced a bill in early September that would stop any federal official, including the president, from implementing a mask mandate through the end of 2024.
It would stop mandates for domestic air travel, public transit systems or primary and secondary schools, along with colleges and universities.
It would also stop airlines, transit authorities and educational institutions from refusing to serve anyone not wearing a mask.
He attempted to force a vote on the legislation Sept. 7, but Democrats objected, stopping unanimous passage and causing it to move through committees.