Rand Paul vows to seek repeal of federal mandate requiring face masks on airplanes


Sen. Rand Paul said he will seek to repeal the requirement that airline passengers and crew wear face masks on planes once Congress reconvenes after lawmakers’ current Fourth of July recess concludes.

Mr. Paul, Kentucky Republican, announced his plans on social media Thursday, nearly six months after President Biden signed an executive order requiring that people wear face masks on commercial planes.

“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!” Mr. Paul said on Twitter.

“It’s time to draw the line America! We must put an end to this theater,” Mr. Paul added on Facebook.

Mr. Biden signed the order requiring that people wear face masks in airports and on planes, as well as on ships, buses and other forms of public transportation, on his first full day in office, Jan. 21.

The face mask requirement for people at airports and on planes was previously supposed to expire on May 11, but the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) extended it through Sept. 13.

Science has shown people can prevent the spread of COVID-19, the potentially deadly contagious disease caused by the coronavirus, by wearing face masks that cover their mouth and nose in public.

The coronavirus spreads by small respiratory droplets expelled when a person breathes, coughs, talks, sneezes or sings, making face masks a critical tool in combating the global COVID-19 pandemic.

Christopher Titus, a comedian and actor with a verified Twitter account, slammed Mr. Paul for saying he will seek to repeal the mask rule and accused the senator of letting Republicans succumb to COVID-19.

“If you’re wondering why @GOP voters are dwindling, they are killing them off,” Mr. Titus said in response to the senator’s tweet.

Mr. Paul, who tested positive for COVID-19 last year and recovered, is hardly the only elected Republican official who is opposed to continuing to the airplane mask mandate.

The Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act proposed by Sen. Rick Scott of Florida would terminate the order requiring masks on conveyances and at transportation hubs, for example.

Introduced in June, the bill is co-sponsored by Sens. Mike Lee of Utah, Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. It was not clear if Mr. Paul would join them.

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