Senate Votes To Overturn Airline Mask Mandate

Senate Votes To Overturn Airline Mask Mandate

52

While this likely won’t have any immediate implications, it does put more pressure on the current transportation mask mandate to be lifted as of April 18, 2022.

Senate votes 57-40 to end transportation mask mandate

On Tuesday, March 15, 2022, the United States Senate voted 57-40 to overturn the current federal transportation mask mandate. This effort was led by Republican Senator Rand Paul, who said that this vote “sent a message to unelected government bureaucrats to stop the anti-science, nanny state requirement of travel mask mandates.” Eight Democrats voted in favor of this, while only one Republican (Mitt Romney) voted against it.

While masks have been required on planes since shortly after the start of the pandemic, a federal transportation mask mandate was only introduced in January 2021, when President Joe Biden took office.

If the Senate’s vote does make it to President Biden, he can veto this, since the Senate didn’t get a two-thirds majority. On top of that, this would first have to pass the House before Biden would even need to veto it, and that’s unlikely.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine said the vote was dangerous because it would prevent the CDC from being able to impose mask mandates in the future. “Wouldn’t we want the CDC to have the power immediately upon an upsurge of COVID nationally to impose a mask requirement on transportation?”

The Senate has voted to overturn the transportation mask mandate

This vote is more about pressure than anything else

Ultimately the Senate’s vote will be inconsequential, in the sense that President Biden could veto it (if it came to that), and the mask mandate will remain in place. However, I think this does add pressure to the Biden administration to not extend the current transportation mask mandate further.

The mandate was recently extended from March 18 through April 18, which was at least a shorter extension than we’ve seen in the past. While this vote didn’t have full bipartisan support in the Senate, 57-40 is a pretty significant majority, so this is more than just Rand Paul being Rand Paul.

I think it’s highly likely that the current transportation mask mandate extension will be the last one, and that by mid-April it’ll be possible to fly maskless in the United States.

We’ll probably see the current mandate lifted in mid-April

Bottom line

The United States Senate has with a pretty healthy majority voted to overturn the federal transportation mask mandate. It’s expected that President Biden will veto this (if it even gets to that point, which is unlikely), given that there wasn’t a two-thirds majority.

While the implications of this vote are limited, this does further lead me to believe that it’s highly likely that the mask mandate will be lifted as of April 18.

What do you make of the Senate’s vote on the transportation mask mandate?

Conversations (52)
The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.
Type your response here.

If you'd like to participate in the discussion, please adhere to our commenting guidelines. Anyone can comment, and your email address will not be published. Register to save your unique username and earn special OMAAT reputation perks!

  1. Regina Guest

    Logically, masks should be worn a few months after the designated end of mandates. Why because past mask lift mandates have resulted in rising cases, new variants & a return of another round of mask mandates. What’s the harm after 2 + years of COVID to wear them a few months longer to be certain history doesn’t repeat itself?
    At minimum those who choose to wear masks, so be it & those who choose...

    Logically, masks should be worn a few months after the designated end of mandates. Why because past mask lift mandates have resulted in rising cases, new variants & a return of another round of mask mandates. What’s the harm after 2 + years of COVID to wear them a few months longer to be certain history doesn’t repeat itself?
    At minimum those who choose to wear masks, so be it & those who choose not to wear masks, so be it. Live & let live & live & don’t judge.
    I do however feel it’s essential to continue a few months longer in public transportation places like airports, etc..

    1. Gary Guest

      Wrong. We here in Texas and Florida and other states haven't had mask mandates for will over a year... if not all the way back to the summer of 2020. Yet there per capita COVID numbers are at or BELOW the number in the COVID crazy states.

  2. Wayne Guest

    I recommend Ben read how a bill becomes a law. There is no veto to a bill passed by one chamber of our bicameral Congress.

  3. foo blah Guest

    awesome! Politicians making more medical decisions, and the Senate doing their usual bang up job. Status quo.

  4. Mburton Guest

    Dr. Rand Paul.... is a medical doctor. His is not just an, honorary, degree. It is amusing to see his bill discredited, but then to see statements like, "doctors and nurses" wear them. They, like us, just comply with the mandates so they keep their job, or get to travel for work or family.

    IF the mask protects you, wear it, by all means. No one should hinder another person from making that choice.

    Lastly,...

    Dr. Rand Paul.... is a medical doctor. His is not just an, honorary, degree. It is amusing to see his bill discredited, but then to see statements like, "doctors and nurses" wear them. They, like us, just comply with the mandates so they keep their job, or get to travel for work or family.

    IF the mask protects you, wear it, by all means. No one should hinder another person from making that choice.

    Lastly, if Sen. Rand Paul has people in his state voicing their opinion to remove the mandate, and he introduces legislation to do so, isn't that called representing? How did it simply become "performative politics" ? Remember that important document that starts with, "WE THE PEOPLE"!!

    1. foo blah Guest

      try again. He is an optometrist, so NOT a "medical doctor". LOL!

      He is also an attention seeking douche, with no respect for science or "we the people".

    2. Jeffrox New Member

      Dr. Rand Paul is an ophthalmologist, a physician who specializes in eye care. The credentials include a degree in medicine, followed by additional four to five years of residency...

    3. Kevin Guest

      No…he is an OPTHAMOLOGIST, moron. So he is a medical doctor, that did 4 years of college, 4 years of Med school, an internship year and a 3 year residency. Please get your facts straight before commenting, it makes you look really stupid. And probably a democrat masker too. How’s your vaccine?

    4. Crisvy Guest

      Rand Paul created his own National Board certification so he can keep the Dr. title. Not a real doctor.

  5. Mburton Guest

    Trying to reason with an unreasonable person is like giving medicine to the dead.

    If the mask works, wear it, even if those around you do not! By wearing the mask, you receive the protection it provides. Those who do not, will simply not have the protection you receive.

    Choose for yourself, wisely!

    1. Chuck Gold

      You don't get it. Can you smoke in a restaurant? No. That restriction against YOUR smoking isn't because someone is concerned about YOUR health. The restriction exists to prevent YOUR smoking from affecting the health of those around you. So too with the mask. Why is this so difficult for people like you to understand?

    2. Jeffrey Chang Guest

      "So too with the mask."

      Why not wear a P100 mask if you are so concerned?

  6. thorofare Guest

    The Senate vote is merely performative politics from Rand Paul. Unless the bill is sponsored in the House and subsequently passed by the house, it will never make it to the President’s desk. That being said, the mask requirement needs to go.

    1. foo blah Guest

      The mask requirement needs to go when there is evidence that the pandemic is over and that the risk is at an acceptable level. I'd leave that up to the public health and medical authorities, not politicians. I know, I'm a dreamer.

    2. Kevin Guest

      The mask requirement was by your own god Fauci’s definition, to be in place until we “flatten the curve”. How much flatter do you want it to be? Fear life much?

  7. Tim Dunn Diamond

    I would genuinely like each of the people here who want to extend the mask mandate to tell us how long BEFORE covid they wore masks including on planes.

    Do they really believe that covid was the first respiratory infectious disease?

    1. Wc Guest

      Having grown up in Asia, have always worn masks if I had the sniffles. Cough, etc.. everyone did.

    2. Chuck Gold

      Exactly right, because you wanted to reduce the likelihood of transmission of whatever you had to other people.

  8. Steve Guest

    Hey at least the daylight savings bill was unanimous in the Senate

    On a serious please everyone follow the science
    Hopefully this will get extended for the summer months

    1. Kevin Guest

      The mask requirement was by your own god Fauci’s definition, to be in place until we “flatten the curve”. How much flatter do you want it to be? Fear life much?

  9. Nevsky Guest

    I have no problem with the mask mandate, as it is a closed tube. Even if I wear a mask on a long flight, I will have to take it off to eat and drink and will then be exposed. Where I do think change is in order is with respect to testing for re-entry to the US. Testing should not be required for fully vaccinated people (which might include boosters), especially as there is...

    I have no problem with the mask mandate, as it is a closed tube. Even if I wear a mask on a long flight, I will have to take it off to eat and drink and will then be exposed. Where I do think change is in order is with respect to testing for re-entry to the US. Testing should not be required for fully vaccinated people (which might include boosters), especially as there is no testing requirement for domestic flights (which requirement would be the best solution and, if the case, would diminish the case for a mask mandate).

  10. Bruce Guest

    I may continue to wear a mask on aircraft indefinitely. I also wouldn't mind the mandate staying around until COVID is really over. Also, the fact that mask mandates really upset the far right wingnuts is very entertaining.

    1. Never In Doubt Guest

      Newsflash: COVID will never be "really over".

      Cases will rise and fall with variants, seasons, etc. but it's never going away.

      You do what you gotta do, but don't kid yourself, unless you change your mind you'll be doing it *forever*.

    2. Patti Guest

      What stupid argument trying to compare masks used for surgeries to the pandemic.

      If it was so important, why hasn't there been a mask mandate all along? And are those having surgery also wearing a mask, gloves and PPE?

      Dumb argument

    3. David Guest

      What they said. Understand, COVID is never going to be over. It will not be eradicated.

    4. Andrew Diamond

      I'm with you. I'll keep wearing masks as much as possible. The last two years I've not caught the flu. And I caught it *every year* prior to the pandemic.

  11. Donna Diamond

    Regardless of how this plays out, mask or no mask, I would highly recommend taking appropriate precautions when flying international routes, both on the flights and off, which require a negative COVID test to enter the US upon return. My brother and wife (both fully vaccinated and boosted) returned from a vacation to Hawaii recently and tested positive for omicron. Eight days on, although healthy, still testing positive. Even though they didn’t have to test...

    Regardless of how this plays out, mask or no mask, I would highly recommend taking appropriate precautions when flying international routes, both on the flights and off, which require a negative COVID test to enter the US upon return. My brother and wife (both fully vaccinated and boosted) returned from a vacation to Hawaii recently and tested positive for omicron. Eight days on, although healthy, still testing positive. Even though they didn’t have to test to return in this instance, it would have been a huge problem returning from an international location. Having a choice on masks is great. What would be better is if the testing requirements for international travel for vaccinated Americans be lifted. It’s long overdue.

  12. Patti Guest

    Worn a mask long before covid since prone to catching respiratory infections. Difference is I could take it off when I wanted to. Looking forward to that freedom again.

    Flew from Joberg to Mozambique. Someone on the plane had a respiratory infection. Within 2 days, everyone at the remote resort was sick. Fortunately, I always carry meds, the others had to wait to get to a major city to get meds.

    Worst case was...

    Worn a mask long before covid since prone to catching respiratory infections. Difference is I could take it off when I wanted to. Looking forward to that freedom again.

    Flew from Joberg to Mozambique. Someone on the plane had a respiratory infection. Within 2 days, everyone at the remote resort was sick. Fortunately, I always carry meds, the others had to wait to get to a major city to get meds.

    Worst case was a 2020 trip from home airport thru JFK-DXB-MLE. 36 hours of masks between flights and layover airports. That tested our resolve and just taking it off for a few minutes to eat or drink was heaven.

    Wear a mask if you want or need to. Let others make their decision. I'm sure there will be times I still use one to make sure I arrive at destination without respiratory infection.

  13. Keith Guest

    @Cedric. Respect. That word means that one respects the individual decision of others provided that it does not harm oneself or society at large. Viruses, however, do not give nor receive respect. It behooves us all to realize that combating a virus is not a matter giving or withholding respect from people.

  14. D3kingg Guest

    When the mask mandate ends some may choose to continuing wearing masks and thats fine we should respect it. Some may continue to use hand sanitizer and wipes. Fine.

  15. DuaneU2 Member

    There's nothing to veto unless the House also passes the bill.

  16. Trust the Process Guest

    Let's also check the process on this. Biden cannot "veto" this Senate action - the bill does not actually go to him as the next order of business. Rather, this bill has to go through the House of Representatives prior to going to Biden, and surely Nancy Pelosi will simply decline to take this up in order to avoid embarrassing the President.

  17. George Romey Guest

    At least our Senate has some common sense. And yes Biden will veto it fearing the woke mob.

    1. Chuck Gold

      Common sense? As represented by something Rand Paul said? Oh, dear, try again.

    2. kenindfw Guest

      Since 2008, the Senate has become just as divisive and bitterly partisan as the House, their members are only richer and have deeper pockets from lobbyists/corporations. The Senate can no longer reach across the aisle. Getting only one Senator to co-sponsor a bill is not "reaching across the aisle" that's "covering your behind" so you can get on TV and act like you're the a sensible person.

  18. Mr. Obvious Guest

    The Dems know what is coming at them in the coming months. Hopefully this is all too late for them as it is pretty obvious that Brandon's policies have only served our country worse than the 4 yrs under the Trumpet. But hey, keep blaming Trumpet, Poohtin, and Covid and see how far that gets you! The day of reckoning is coming, exciting times ahead!

    1. George Romey Guest

      Masks aren't being worn anywhere else, including the lounges. I see people in airports with them off or pulled down and not a word is said. There is no evidence that masks work.

      People should be allowed to do what gives them safety and comfort. But not tell others what to do. Personally, I never have spent a nanosecond worrying about COVID and despite 2 years of heavy travel (even during the peak period) never sick for a day.

    2. Chuck Gold

      Oy. Right -- if you don't look at the evidence, you won't see it. Bully for you.

    3. Chuck Gold

      By the way, how fortunate you are not to have worried about COVID. I watched my best friend's mother die of COVID. My neighbor's sister and her husband died from COVID within one hour of each other, neither realizing that they were about to orphan their four little children. Had the other half of the nation taken our collective health seriously, instead of playing the "don't tell me what to do" card, tens of thousand,...

      By the way, how fortunate you are not to have worried about COVID. I watched my best friend's mother die of COVID. My neighbor's sister and her husband died from COVID within one hour of each other, neither realizing that they were about to orphan their four little children. Had the other half of the nation taken our collective health seriously, instead of playing the "don't tell me what to do" card, tens of thousand, if not hundreds of thousands of people would still be alive today.

  19. Stuart Guest

    You are assuming that the variant that's in Europe now and making waves doesn't end up here, as all variants in Europe seem to do. It's very likely we will see another surge in April which would all but end any hope of masks being eliminated on flights for now.

    1. Steve Diamond

      Because the masks clearly worked in stopping the earlier variants, so lets keep wearing masks that provide no protection that were proven to be incredibly ineffective vs delta and omicron. But hey maybe masks will work this next time.........

    2. Ray Gold

      @Steve: just remember when you or a loved one ( if you have any) go in for surgery to tell the surgeons and nursing staff the masks are a waste of time since they don’t work. Feel free to tell them Rand Paul said so.

      Please prove they didn’t work, and start with the numbers of deaths as we moved through the pandemic.

  20. JoePro Guest

    I'm on board for the plan: President Vetoes (keeping the CDCs ability to impose in the future), but not to extend the current mandate. At this point, the mandate doesn't make sense anymore anyways, without N95 requirements.

    Taking my first ever E flight overseas at the end of April, so the timing would be quite convenient for me.

    1. Steve Diamond

      Even if you have a n95 masks most if not all people dont wear them properly. If there is a slight gap then its not effective not to mention that they are supposed to be one time use not wear for weeks to virtue signal that you have a mask with a big n95 logo on it. Mask mandates need to go they never have worked and never will.

    2. JoePro Guest

      So your argument is that N95 masks work, but people suck, so we shouldn't bother trying.

      I'm well aware that a large portion of our country has spent the last 2 years fighting tooth and nail to do absolutely 0 about this virus. That wasn't a good reason to not try to do something.

      "Masks don't work because people don't use them properly" is not equivalent to "masks don't work".

    3. Libertarian G Guest

      And so your argument is that even though you admit mask mandates have done absolutely nothing after the last 2 years, that we still just have to do something, to say we are doing something?

      And no, masks don't work unless youre trying to be protected against coughing and sneezing, but that's not how covid is primarily spread. It's in your breath, aerosolized, it passes right through masks.

    4. Ralph4878 Guest

      @Libertarian G - please provide your scientifically backed, peer reviewed evidence that masks do not work.

      "Masks don't work!" is what crybabies who don't give a damn about anyone else keep saying, yet they provide no scientific evidence that is peer reviewed to support the claim. Why? Because it doesn't exist - this virus is novel, and there have been few studies that actually study their effectiveness. And yet, those studies that do actually...

      @Libertarian G - please provide your scientifically backed, peer reviewed evidence that masks do not work.

      "Masks don't work!" is what crybabies who don't give a damn about anyone else keep saying, yet they provide no scientific evidence that is peer reviewed to support the claim. Why? Because it doesn't exist - this virus is novel, and there have been few studies that actually study their effectiveness. And yet, those studies that do actually exist have been consistent in their recommendations in favor of masking. Why? Because the biophysics of aerosols when breathing normally are impeded even when a medical, 3-ply surgical mask is used as a barrier. Cloth masks are rubbish, and should be used as a last resort (as they are too porous), but with the wide availability of KN95s and medical 3-ply surgical masks, there's no excuse for people not to wear them unless they just don't give a f*** about other people. See also: Howard, Huang, Li, and Rimoin, (PNAS, 2021); Andrejko, Pry, Meyers, et al (MMWR Morb Weekly, 2022); Wang, Tian, Zhang, et all (BMJ Global Health, 2020).

    5. JoePro Guest

      Cute, Libertarian. Trying to tell me I said something when I didn't. Pro move.

      No, cloth masks don't make sense in the face of Omicron. Experts have come to that conclusion. Not so with previous strains.

      If we are to continue with any kind of mask mandate, it should be N95. I'm not saying we need to have that policy in place ATM, but to argue that we shouldn't have a policy because people aren't...

      Cute, Libertarian. Trying to tell me I said something when I didn't. Pro move.

      No, cloth masks don't make sense in the face of Omicron. Experts have come to that conclusion. Not so with previous strains.

      If we are to continue with any kind of mask mandate, it should be N95. I'm not saying we need to have that policy in place ATM, but to argue that we shouldn't have a policy because people aren't going to follow it is ridiculous.

      I never said I "admit mask mandates have done absolutely nothing in the last 2 years".

      Hey, but if you're truly who you say you are and you voted for Jo, at least we have that in common.

    6. Amber Guest

      Right, masks do not work, that's why doctors and hospitals wear them. Even a slight gap does not take the effectiveness down to 0%. How do you know people are re-wearing masks for weeks? You don't, you're just making things up. And you can reuse N95s if you rest them in between uses... You clearly have no idea what you're talking about, but like doing it very loudly to make yourself think you're important.

    7. Ray Gold

      @Steve: just remember when you or a loved one ( if you have any) go in for surgery to tell the surgeons and nursing staff the masks are a waste of time since they don’t work. Feel free to tell them Rand Paul said so.

  21. Cedric Guest

    You can keep wearing a mask if you want to. I won't but I respect people who do. I was actually expecting masks to stay in planes much longer but I'm happy they are going the way of the dodo bird.

Featured Comments Most helpful comments ( as chosen by the OMAAT community ).

The comments on this page have not been provided, reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any advertiser, and it is not an advertiser's responsibility to ensure posts and/or questions are answered.

Chuck Gold

Common sense? As represented by something Rand Paul said? Oh, dear, try again.

5
Keith Guest

@Cedric. Respect. That word means that one respects the individual decision of others provided that it does not harm oneself or society at large. Viruses, however, do not give nor receive respect. It behooves us all to realize that combating a virus is not a matter giving or withholding respect from people.

5
Mburton Guest

Dr. Rand Paul.... is a medical doctor. His is not just an, honorary, degree. It is amusing to see his bill discredited, but then to see statements like, "doctors and nurses" wear them. They, like us, just comply with the mandates so they keep their job, or get to travel for work or family. IF the mask protects you, wear it, by all means. No one should hinder another person from making that choice. Lastly, if Sen. Rand Paul has people in his state voicing their opinion to remove the mandate, and he introduces legislation to do so, isn't that called representing? How did it simply become "performative politics" ? Remember that important document that starts with, "WE THE PEOPLE"!!

3
Meet Ben Schlappig, OMAAT Founder
4,788,713 Miles Traveled

27,627,500 Words Written

32,315 Posts Published