Congressional Democrats are urging the White House to mandate that airlines require passengers to show proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative COVID-19 test before flying domestically.
More than 30 Democratic lawmakers asserted in a letter dated Nov. 11 (pdf) to President Joe Biden that new requirements on passengers are “a necessary and long overdue step toward ensuring all Americans feel safe and confident while traveling and reduce the chances of yet another devastating winter surge.”
“Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic flights will help alleviate these concerns for traveling. Further, this type of COVID19 vaccine and testing requirement has been endorsed by prominent voices in the public health community,” the letter says.
Several senior Democrats signed the letter, including Reps. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), David Cicilline (D-R.I.), Barbara Lee (D-Calif.), and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.).
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) website, without making mention of natural immunity, says it believes people should avoid taking domestic flights unless they’re fully vaccinated for COVID-19.
Earlier this month, the United States imposed new requirements for nearly all foreign nationals flying to the United States to show proof of vaccination, as well as proof of a negative COVID-19 test. The Biden administration also lifted travel restrictions that barred most foreign nationals from the United States who had recently been in China, Brazil, South Africa, Iran, and much of Europe.
Last week, White House deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, when asked a question about a mandate for vaccinations on domestic flights, said that “everything is on the table. We just don’t have any announcement to preview right now on this.”
About 60 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. White House officials earlier this month said they believe that 70 percent of American adults are fully vaccinated.
The Biden administration recently announced it wouldn’t enforce a deadline for federal contractors including major U.S. airlines to ensure their employees are vaccinated against COVID-19 until Jan. 4, 2022. At the same time, the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration published a rule targeting private businesses with 100 or more workers, mandating that they either submit to weekly testing or get the COVID-19 vaccine starting Jan. 4.
Both the mandate for private businesses and contractors, however, have triggered numerous lawsuits in recent days. On Nov. 12, the U.S. 5th Court of Appeals issued a scathing ruling and reaffirmed its previous decision to temporarily block the private business mandate.
“Rather than a delicately handled scalpel, the Mandate is a one-size-fits-all sledgehammer that makes hardly any attempt to account for differences in workplaces (and workers) that have more than a little bearing on workers’ varying degrees of susceptibility to the supposedly ‘grave danger’ the Mandate purports to address,” a panel of judges on the appeals court wrote.
COVID-19 is the illness caused by the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
The White House didn’t immediately respond to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.