Thirty-one other Senators, including Sen. Hyde-Smith, sign on to Wicker’s letter to Biden.
Mississippi U.S. Senator Roger Wicker, ranking member of the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation, today led 31 Senators in a letter to President Biden urging the Administration to lift travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Americans are ready to move past this pandemic and get on with their normal daily lives,” Wicker said. “Federal travel restrictions like mask mandates and testing requirements are increasingly unnecessary to keep people safe and control the spread of the coronavirus. COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations are declining, immunity rates are climbing, and a growing number of treatments are now available. It is time for the federal government to recognize this reality, follow the science, and reduce or eliminate these restrictions immediately.”
The Senators called for an end to pre-departure testing requirements for travel to the U.S. and the federal mask mandate for travel.
“We believe current travel restrictions in place should be phased out, allowed to expire, or eliminated altogether. Lifting these restrictions is supported by the science, in particular the significant decline in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations coupled with ever-increasing vaccination rates,” the group of Senators wrote, adding that the requirements discourage travel and hinder the full economic recovery that would result from face-to-face meetings linked to the travel and tourism industries.
The current mandate for masks is expected to expire on March 18 if it is not extended by the Biden Administration. The Senators write that air travel has proven safe without mask wearing.
“Air travel in particular has proven safe without mask wearing, given the HEPA filters and constant recirculation of air in airplane cabins,” they state in the letter. “Additionally, more than 75 percent of reports of unruly passengers have been linked to mask mandate compliance. Ending this unnecessary mandate would lead to a safer and more pleasant travel experience for passengers and air crew alike.”
U.S. Senators who also signed the letter include Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Richard Burr, R-N.C., Kevin Cramer, R-N.D., John Cornyn, R-Texas, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., Thom Tillis, R-N.C., John Barrasso, R-Wyo., Steve Daines, R-Mont., Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, Joni Ernst, R-Iowa, Cindy Hyde-Smith, R-Miss., Mike Braun, R-Ind., Mike Lee, R-Utah, Roy Blunt R-Mo., Rick Scott, R-Fla., John Thune, R-S.D., James Lankford, R-Okla., John Boozman, R-Ark., Marco Rubio, R-Fla., Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., Bill Cassidy, R-La., Ron Johnson, R-Wis., Cynthia Lummis, R-Wyo., Todd Young, R- Ind., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., Roger Marshall, R-Kan., Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.V.