The Senate has spoken — but will President Joe Biden’s administration listen?
On Tuesday, the Senate approved a resolution calling on the federal government to repeal mask mandates with a solid bipartisan majority, CNN reported.
The measure, proposed by GOP Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, garnered 57 yes votes and 40 votes against.
Paul was able force a vote using the Congressional Review Act, which enables senators to overturn regulations set by federal agencies without having to clear the 60-vote filibuster hurdle.
Only one Republican opposed the measure — Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah, not an unpredictable development.
Somewhat less predictable was eight Democrats voting against the measure, however.
Both senators from Nevada (Catherine Cortez Masto and Jacky Rosen) and Arizona (Mark Kelly and Kyrsten Sinema) voted for Paul’s measure.
So, too, did Sens. Michael Bennet of Colorado, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Jon Tester of Montana.
It’s worth noting that all of those senators are up for re-election this year.
However, Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia had urged members of the caucus to vote against the resolution under the logic that it’s set to expire next month.
“Instead, let’s work with the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and see what guidance they come up with for this April 18 deadline. That would be much better for public health and much better for our economy,” Kaine said during a speech on the Senate floor.
However, that masking requirement — which forces “people on public transportation conveyances or on the premises of transportation hubs” to wear masks — has been in place since January of 2021 and has been extended numerous times by the Biden administration’s CDC.
The latest extension happened last month.
“Since March 2020, unelected bureaucrats have incessantly declared that we should ‘follow the science.’ But the same bureaucrats continue to defy science by imposing an ineffective and restrictive mask mandate for individuals traveling on public transit and airplanes,” Sen. Paul said in a statement.
“As the entire world is learning to live with COVID, the federal government still uses fear mongering to stubbornly perpetuate its mandates, rather than giving clear-eyed, rational advice on how to best protect yourself from illness.”
While the vote may be a moral victory for the GOP, it’s unlikely to have any direct effect on policy, at least for the moment.
“Despite the resolution succeeding in the Senate, it is unlikely to move in the Democratic-led House and would likely be opposed by President Joe Biden,” CNN noted. “The White House had issued a veto threat against the proposal earlier Tuesday.”