U.S. Sen. Rick Scott failed Wednesday to get the Senate to consider legislation to remove governmental mask requirements from airplanes, trains, and other forms of mass transit.
Unanimous consent would have been required to move what Scott called a “pure commonsense” bill out of committee and to the floor for a vote.
That did not come to pass because Democrats couldn’t help but follow their “political science,” Scott said.
“While we choose to listen to the science, all the Democrats care about is following their political science,” Scott said in a press release Wednesday evening.
The Stop Mandating Additional Requirements for Travel (SMART) Act was intended, Scott said on the Senate floor, to contest the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decision “to buck the science when it comes to travel” by continuing to require masks on mass transit.
“The government has no right to tell them what to do,” Scott said about travelers.
Mask mandates make “travel with children nearly impossible,” he added, especially impacting parents of young children. “Why is the CDC singling out airlines and public transportation?”
Scott’s urgent argument was countered by Sen. Patty Murray, a Washington Democrat, who noted the dangerous Delta variant of the new coronavirus and the large group of unvaccinated people in public. Murray’s objection blocked the bill’s hearing, the latest setback for Scott in attempting to sidestep committees, but one that stunned him nonetheless.
“I’m actually shocked that my colleague from the state of Washington doesn’t want to follow the science,” Scott said. “Americans would do the right thing. It is not our job to dictate and tell them how to live their lives.”
“The government has no right to tell them to wear a mask,” Scott added, noting that private businesses would retain the right to have mask rules.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention instituted the current order effective Feb. 1. It has been ameliorated recently to allow for “enforcement discretion.”
“On June 10, 2021, CDC announced that, until it can amend the January 29, 2021, Order, it will exercise its enforcement discretion regarding certain aspects of the Order to not require that people wear masks while outdoors on conveyances or while outdoors on the premises of transportation hubs. CDC requests that Federal partners and any cooperating state and local entities exercise similar enforcement discretion,” the CDC asserted.