Democrats Request Vaccine Mandate For Domestic Travel

( Even as major companies, organizations and individuals around the country are challenging President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates on private industry, Democratic lawmakers are still urging the White House to go even further.

Late last week, a group of 36 Democratic members of Congress sent Biden a letter asking him to impose a new mandate on all people who wish to travel domestically by air. They want people to either have to show proof they’ve gotten a COVID-19 vaccine or that they’ve recently tested negative on a COVID-19 test.

The group is led by Senator Dianne Feinstein as well as Representatives Ritchie Torres and Don Beyer. The group has asked Biden to take the “necessary and long overdue step” to potentially reduce the chances of another surge in COVID-19 infections during the winter months, as happened last year.

The letter read:

“As the nation approaches holiday season, we ask that you put in place requirements for airline passengers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 or a negative test to board a domestic flight.”

They didn’t stop there, though. They’re also requesting that the White House implement other coronavirus-related safety protocols for people traveling on public transportation, such as trains.

Right now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that all people delay travel plans until they are either fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or until they produce a negative test result both before and after they travel.

But, that’s only a recommendation. There is no mandate on those actions just yet.

The Democratic legislators are hoping that the Biden administration will follow the same rules it has implemented for all foreign travelers who wish to come to the U.S.

Just last week, the U.S. re-opened its borders to many travelers from abroad. Before they board a flight bound for the U.S., though, international passengers have to prove they’ve been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received a negative test result within 72 hours of their departure time.

Americans who are unvaccinated must prove they’ve received a negative test within one day of their international travel plans. Vaccinated Americans still need to take a test before they depart, but it can be done within three days of when they leave.

None of these rules apply for any flights that depart from and arrive to an airport within the U.S.

The lawmakers are saying that’s not enough, especially as Americans are planning to travel around the country for the upcoming holiday season. As they wrote in their letter:

“Many Americans remain reluctant to spending extended periods of time in enclosed public spaces due to the risk of COVID-19 exposure. Requiring proof of vaccination or a negative test for domestic flights will help alleviate these concerns for traveling.”

They further stated that instituting these requirements for all domestic air travel “has the potential to increase vaccine acceptance among the public.”

If they really believed that, though, wouldn’t they push for a fully vaccine requirement, and leave out the option for people to produce a negative COVID-19 test?