The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a statement Tuesday reminding the American public that the fight over mask mandates was far from over and that they remain unwilling to surrender an inch of power.
May 3 marked the expiration date of one of the last remaining vestiges of the pandemic era and, if not for the intercession of a federal judge, the CDC demonstrated they likely would have issued another extension. In a media statement published Tuesday, they reinstated their “recommendation” for masking when using public transportation.
“At this time,” the statement read, “CDC recommends that everyone aged 2 and older – including passengers and workers – properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation (such as airplanes, trains, etc.) and transportation hubs (such as airports, stations, etc.)”
Arguing their “recommendation is based on the currently available data,” they went on to declare, “When people properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator, they protect themselves and those around them, and help keep travel and public transportation safer for everyone.”
However, the timing of the recommendation is a little more than coincidental. After the previous expiration of the mask mandate for April 18 had been extended to May 3, Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle vacated the mandate in a ruling that explained, “Because our system does not permit agencies to act unlawfully even in pursuit of desirable ends, the court declares unlawful and vacates the mask mandate.”
President Joe Biden’s Department of Justice has since announced that it will appeal the ruling at the behest of the CDC, showing a continued deferral from duly appointed cabinet officials to the ever-increasing bureaucracy in Washington.
Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg testified before the Senate Commerce, Science & Transportation Committee Tuesday in regard to the proposed 2023 budget and, during the questioning, he too expressed that the final say for his department wasn’t up to him.
On the issue of efforts to reinstate the transportation mask mandate, Buttigieg said, “The appeal concerns whether the CDC has the authority to in this pandemic or in any pandemic, which is completely distinct from whether a mask mandate ought to be applied any given day.”
Buttigieg went on to express that he, too, felt the mandate should have expired, but the decision wasn’t up to him as head of the Transportation Department. That admission shows that the administration is not backing down from its position that it should have sweeping regulatory authority in the name of an emergency with no definable conclusion.
As it stands, the mandate remains vacated and no major transportation providers have announced they will alter their policies based on the recommendation, according to The Daily Mail.
A spokesperson for United Airlines had previously reacted to the federal judge’s ruling stating, “While this means that our employees are no longer required to wear a mask – and no longer have to enforce a mask requirement for most of the flying public – they will be able to wear masks if they choose to do so, as the CDC continues to strongly recommend wearing a mask on public transit.”
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