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Vance’s mask mandate ban signed into law

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When President Joe Biden signed a package of bills over the weekend to avoid a government shutdown, he also made law Sen. J.D. Vance’s legislation to stop federal mask mandates from the Department of Transportation.

The law stops the Transportation Department from using federal funds to enforce mask mandates on passenger airlines, commuter rail, rapid transit buses and any other transportation program funded through fiscal year 2024.

“The era of public health panic is over,” Vance said after passage. “Tonight, my amendment to prohibit COVID-19 mask mandates by the Department of Transportation – including the FAA – passed the Senate. This is a massive victory for common sense. Mask mandates were an outrageous overstep by the public health establishment. We cannot allow this mistake to be repeated.”

Vance began pushing for the mask mandate ban in early September, introducing the Freedom to Breathe Act following Morris Brown College in Atlanta implementing a two-week mask mandate after students tested positive for COVID-19.

At that time, he had support from Sens. John Thune, R-South Dakota; John Barrasso, R-Wyoming; Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyoming; Ted Budd, R-North Carolina; and Eric Schmitt, R-Missouri.

Vance tried to force passage in September by asking for unanimous passage. Sen. Ed Markey, D-Massachusetts, objected, saying the bill is a distraction and misleading, saying every health care option should be available to officials at the local level.

In October, Vance filed the ban as an amendment to an appropriations bill that passed the Senate.

“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.”