- Texas and North Dakota, which are represented by Cruz and Cramer, are both experiencing increases in new COVID-19 cases.
- CDC guidance was reversed on July 27 to recommend that people wear masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.
- Under one of the bills, patients under 18 would need a legal guardian’s consent to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
On Monday, US Sens. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Kevin Cramer (R-ND) introduced two bills that would ban mask and vaccine mandates.
“Thanks to vaccinations and the natural immunity of Americans who have recovered from COVID-19, America is reopening. America is recovering, our kids are going back to school, and small businesses are returning as our nation’s economic heartbeat. At the same time, President Biden is imposing unscientific and burdensome mandates to control Americans’ lives,” Cruz said in a press release.
Cruz introduced the No Mask Mandates Act, which would end all current and future mask mandates, as well as prohibit the use of taxpayer funds to enforce any federal mask mandate in response to COVID-19. He added that he introduced the bill to protect employees from discrimination based on their vaccination status and to protect the “freedom to exercise personal choice.”
New guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on July 27 recommended that people wear masks indoors regardless of their vaccination status, reversing its previous guidance that fully vaccinated people did not need to wear masks indoors. The change was made in response to the highly transmissible delta variant and rising COVID-19 hospitalizations and case numbers around the country, according to the CDC.
During the last week of July, a third of new US COVID-19 cases were from Florida and Texas, the state that Cruz represents. Cruz himself is vaccinated, despite calling the vaccine mandate for federal employees “authoritarian.” Today, the Texas Tribune reported that hospitalizations in the state are increasing quicker than any other point in the pandemic.
Under the No Vaccine Mandates Act, any individual who vaccinates a patient against COVID-19 without their consent would face civil penalties. The bill would also require people administering COVID-19 vaccines to obtain patient’s informed consent beforehand. If the patient is a child, a legal guardians’ permission would be required to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.
“When it comes to handling COVID-19, Americans are self-governed people who have more than enough information available to them on how to talk to their doctor and figure out what is best for themselves and their families,” Cramer said in a press release. “Efforts by the Biden Administration and its allies to bully or force people to comply with mask and vaccine mandates – even though their guidance has been inconsistent and haphazard throughout the pandemic – will only succeed at infringing upon the rights of the American people.”
Confirmed cases of the delta variant in North Dakota, which Cramer represents in Congress, have quadrupled in the past week, the Bismarck Tribune reported on Tuesday. Since August 2, active cases have increased by 40%, according to data from the North Dakota Department of Health.
While there is no current federal requirement for informed consent relating to immunization, vaccine information statements (VISs) provided to patients fulfill the information requirements of the National Childhood Vaccine Injury Act, according to the CDC. However, VISs provide information on both the benefits and risks associated with vaccinations, so any patient reading them should be adequately informed, the CDC said.