House votes to kill CDC’s vax requirement for foreign travelers entering the US

The House on Wednesday voted to end the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) rule that requires foreign travelers entering the U.S. to be vaccinated for COVID. The bill is the latest effort by House Republicans to chip away at the Biden administration’s restrictive COVID policies and force the government to adopt President Biden’s own assessment last year that the “pandemic is over.” The White House has resisted this pressure and said this week that it opposes the GOP bill to eliminate the CDC rule on foreign travelers. In a statement issued Tuesday, the White House said it adopted the CDC recommendation on foreign vaccination as it was needed to “ensure that international air travel to the United States could resume safely.” COVID HOSPITALIZATIONS, DEATHS COULD RISE IN COMING WEEKS, ACCORDING TO CDC The White House also indicated it might soon dismantle the vaccination requirement for foreign travelers — it said as it looks to end the COVID public health emergency in May, it will review “all relevant policies, including this one.” But House lawmakers decided that the CDC recommendation should be taken down immediately. The bill passed the House in a 227-201 vote, thanks to “yes” votes from seven Democrats. During debate, Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., said there’s no logical reason for maintaining the vaccination requirement given the number of illegal immigrants pouring over the border. “What’s the logic of having a vaccine mandate on legal international travelers but not on the millions of people who are pouring across our border? Where’s the logic in that?” he asked. NEW COVID OMICRON SUBVARIANT XBB.1.5 IS ‘SPREADING LIKE WILDFIRE’ IN US: HEALTH EXPERTS REVEAL WHY “You want a list of countries that don’t have this mandate? Australia, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Spain, Germany, France, Ukraine,” Massie said. “Dictatorships have already gotten rid of this vaccinate mandate. Russia, Syria, China, Cuba even doesn’t have this draconian, xenophobic measure at the border.” He added that as long as the requirement remains in place, the Biden administration is falling far short of the president’s own assessment that COVID is no longer the threat it posed in 2020 and 2021. “The president said, ‘Today, COVID no longer controls our lives.’ Gee, I wish that were true,” Massie said, reacting to Biden’s comments in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. Only Democrats who oppose the bill spoke on the House floor during the debate. Rep. Frank Pallone, D-N.J., argued that the GOP is aimed at undermining public confidence in the COVID vaccine, and said Congress should trust the expertise of government health experts at the CDC. JANICE DEAN STILL FIGHTING FOR ACCOUNTABILITY, JUSTICE FROM ‘DYNASTY POLITICIAN’ ANDREW CUOMO OVER COVID CASE “We have the best… public health experts in the world, in my opinion,” he said. “The CDC is so much better than any of the health care organizations, in my opinion — certainly than our adversaries like Russia or Cuba or China.” “I think we should be listening to the public health experts in our country and not worrying about some of these other countries that are adversaries,” Pallone added. Last month, seven Democrats joined Republicans to pass a bill that would eliminate the vaccination requirement for federal health workers. And on Feb. 1, three Democrats voted with the GOP to require federal workers who enjoyed liberal telework policies under COVID to return to their offices. The House vote sends the bill to the Democrat-led Senate, which is unlikely to bring it to the floor.

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