U.S. Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, along with Senator Ted Cruz, R-Texas, ranking member of the Senate Aviation Safety, Operations, and Innovation Subcommittee, U.S. Representative Sam Graves, R-Mo., ranking member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, and U.S. Representative Garret Graves, R-La., ranking member of the House Aviation Subcommittee, today sent a letter urging the Biden administration to end its baseless federal mask mandate for transportation operators, employees, and users.

“Mask requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be lifted around the country, and Americans are safely embracing their pre-pandemic lifestyles. With the Federal transportation mask mandate deadline nearly upon us, we write once again to urge you to rescind, or decline to extend, this unnecessary mask mandate and work with Congress to get our Nation’s transportation system back to normal,” the legislators wrote. 

The legislators called on President Biden to end the mandate immediately, which was set to expire last month but was extended through April 18, 2022, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announcement that nearly all Americans could forego wearing a mask indoors.

“It is our belief that these inconsistent decisions further erode public trust in the Federal government, especially when transportation operators have taken significant steps to keep passengers safe. The American people have seen through the false logic that COVID-19 only exists on airplanes and public transportation,” the legislators added.

Read the full letter here or below.

Dear Mr. President: 

Mask requirements related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to be lifted around the country, and Americans are safely embracing their pre-pandemic lifestyles. With the Federal transportation mask mandate deadline nearly upon us, we write once again to urge you to rescind, or decline to extend, this unnecessary mask mandate and work with Congress to get our Nation’s transportation system back to normal.

We believe the Transportation Security Administration’s (TSA’s) extension of the transportation mask mandate last month ran counter to your public health agency’s announcement that most Americans could forego wearing a mask indoors. It is our belief that these inconsistent decisions further erode public trust in the Federal government, especially when transportation operators have taken significant steps to keep passengers safe.

The American people have seen through the false logic that COVID-19 only exists on airplanes and public transportation. They see it every day when they go to a grocery store, restaurant, shopping mall, or movie theater with no masks in sight, leading them to demand unneeded mandates come to an end. In response to this outcry, 21 states have filed suit to put an end to this egregious transportation mask mandate overreach. In addition, you’ve received letters from various transportation stakeholders urging you to put pandemic-related travel restrictions behind us. Specifically, the White House received letters from the U.S. Travel Association, Airlines for America, and the American Bus Association, all of whom are imploring your Administration to either repeal the transportation mask mandate immediately or let it expire. 

On February 25, 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) launched its COVID-19 Community Level Framework, to ensure consistent Federal mask policies. However, TSA’s extension of its mask mandate following the CDC’s new framework, means that there is no excuse for failing to align the Federal mask policies.

At a time when operators across all modes of our Nation’s transportation system are grappling with sky-rocketing fuel prices and the lingering impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, the Administration’s policies should reflect nothing less than steadfast support for the transportation sector’s rapid recovery. To that end, we urge you to join us in supporting our Nation’s transportation operators, employees, and users by ending immediately the Federal transportation mask mandate, or allowing it to expire once and for all. 

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