By U.S. Congressman Brian Mast (FL-18)
Two years ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that it would be “two weeks to slow the spread.” Their message to the American people was that, if we made the collective sacrifice and shut down society for fourteen days, we would be able to return to normalcy.
Two years later, they’re still advocating for a dystopia very far from normal. While Florida’s Governor Ron Desantis took the sensible approach, ending mandates and restrictions a long time ago, the CDC has refused to give up the power it grabbed in March of 2020. That’s why 1.73 million Americans are still forced to mask up every day when they step into airports across the country.
Far from walking back its big government edict, the CDC recently announced that it would be extending its mandate through mid-April. It’s become clear that the CDC has no intentions of relinquishing its death grip on air travel.
That’s why I’m suing them.
Together with seventeen of my colleagues, I’ve filed a lawsuit to force the CDC to end mandates impacting airports and flights. I’m confident that we will win because we have science and the Constitution on our side.
Let’s start with the science. When the mask mandate was first imposed in February of 2021, the seven-day average for COVID-19 cases was almost 150,000 and just 9.2 percent of the population had received at least one dose of the vaccine. Compare that to the current seven-day average of under 30,000 and 77.6 percent vaccination rate.
The CDC itself has said that more than 97 percent of the population lives in a county with “low” risk for COVID, determined by the number of hospital beds in use, hospital admissions and total number of cases. In fact, the CDC has decided that the risk is low enough to rescind Title 42, otherwise known as the “Remain in Mexico” policy, and restart the admission of asylum-seeking migrants into the country. If it’s safe enough for immigrants to cross the border, it’s safe enough for Americans to cross the skies without a mask.
Even more importantly, these mandates are unconstitutional. That’s because Congress never passed a law that required masks on planes. In fact, throughout 2020 and the peak of the pandemic, airlines were not subject to a mandate. While many airlines threatened to ban passengers if they did not wear a mask, that was a decision made by the private businesses, not the federal government.
A mandate wasn’t implemented until President Biden was inaugurated and took over the CDC. This mandate was created by unelected bureaucrats in Washington who have no accountability to the American people.
The bottom line is that the CDC has dramatically overstepped its authority because the mandate is impacting the liberty of all travelers. At the core of liberty is the right to make individual choices and that includes whether or not to wear a mask on an airplane. That’s why I am confident that justice will prevail, and we will finally see an end to these ridiculous mandates.
It’s clear from the data and from the Constitution itself that mandates are not about keeping people safe. It’s about beltway insiders keeping control, and that is unacceptable.