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Sen. Rand Paul and other Republicans seek end to mandatory mask-wearing on public transportation

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Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and other GOP lawmakers are aiming to end mandatory mask-wearing on public transportation.

"The federal government forcing the American people to continue to wear masks despite the fact that we've already reached herd immunity is ridiculous and needs to end immediately," Paul said. "I am introducing the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021 to put a stop to this nanny state mandate of requiring masks on public transportation. In a free country people will evaluate their personal risk factors and are smart enough to ultimately make medical decisions like wearing a mask themselves."

Paul is a Kentucky Republican who has served in the Senate since 2011. The Senate edition of the legislation is co-sponsored by GOP Sens. Mike Braun of Indiana, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Roger Marshall of Kansas, and Roger Wicker of Mississippi. GOP Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona plans to introduce companion legislation in the House on Friday.

Last Thursday, Paul had tweeted: "When the Senate returns to session, I will be introducing an immediate repeal of the mask mandate on planes. Enough! Time to stop this farce and let people travel in peace!"

Currently, travelers are required to wear face masks aboard public transportation, but the Travel Mask Mandate Repeal Act of 2021 would eliminate the existing public transportation mask requirements and prohibit federal agencies from imposing such requirements.

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no Federal agency shall impose any Federal requirement related to COVID-19 that an individual wear a face mask when utilizing any conveyance ... or transportation hub," the bill reads.

"Effective on the date of enactment of this Act, the order issued on January 29, 2021, by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under section 361 of the Public Health Service Act (42 U.S.C. 264) establishing a requirement for persons to wear masks while on conveyances and at transportation hubs, as well as any other related order, directive, and emergency amendment of the Transportation Security Administration ... shall have no force or effect," the bill declares.

According to the CDC, 48.2% of the total U.S. population has been fully vaccinated, while 55.7% of the total population has received at least one vaccine dose.

The Johnson & Johnson Janssen vaccine only involves a single shot while the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines each require two shots.

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