Sen. JD Vance proposes the ‘Freedom to Breathe Act,’ an anti-mask mandate measure

News & Politics

Republican Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio is proposing a measure that would prohibit the imposition of federal mask mandates for air travel, public transit, and educational institutions.

In addition to barring federal officials and entities from imposing mask mandates in those three areas, the aptly titled “Freedom to Breathe Act” would also bar schools and institutions of higher education that receive federal funds, airlines, and public transit operators from refusing service to people who choose not to wear a mask.

The proposal would also prohibit using federal funds to support or establish a mask mandate applicable to public transit, air travel, or educational institutions.

The period when the various provisions would be in place would end on December 31, 2024.

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“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,” Vance said, according to a press release. “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.”

The bill likely has little chance of clearing both chambers of Congress and earning the signature of Democratic President Joe Biden.

First lady Jill Biden tested positive for COVID-19 on Monday. White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said on Tuesday that President Biden, who has been testing negative for the illness, would be masking while indoors and near other people. But not much later on Tuesday the president went maskless while awarding the Medal of Honor to someone.

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