On Wednesday the House passed a bill that would end a requirement for foreigners entering the U.S. to be vaccinated against Covid.
The bill, H.R. 185, was introduced by Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) and states at the top of it, "A BILL [to] terminate the requirement imposed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for proof of COVID-19 vaccination for foreign travelers."
The measure would not only overrule the CDC's April 2022 order, but it would also prohibit the imposition of all similar vaccine requirements for foreign visitors to the U.S. in the future. The bill would also prevent federal agencies from using congressionally apportioned funds to enforce such vaccine mandates.
The legislation passed the House with a 227-201 vote.
Rep. Nick Langworhty (R-NY) said in support of the bill, "Life has returned to normal across the county. Despite the rest of the world moving on from COVID, this administration persists in maintaining an unnecessary vaccination requirement for those entering the United States."
The measure passed through the House Rules Committee with a 9-3 vote. All 9 committee Republicans approved the bill with the committee's Democrats, with the exception of one absent member, voting down the legislation.
In October 2021, President Joe Biden announced that any foreigner not vaccinated against Covid would be banned entry to the country. A move which, the administration insisted, was a "science-based public health measure."
Biden's rule took effect in April 2022 when the CDC announced the "Amended Order Implementing Presidential Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic."
In comments made during the Rules Committee hearing, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-TX) noted that Covid restrictions for foreigners visiting the United States were less harsh than the mandates put on illegal immigrants living in the country.
Burgess recalled a conversation with Customs and Border Patrol agents who had told him that unvaccinated illegal migrants are allowed to enter the country under Biden's "catch and release" policy in which illegal immigrants are released into the U.S. by border patrol agents to await their immigration hearing. Statistics show that most illegal migrants do not appear at their court hearings and are thus living in the U.S. illegally. According to Burgess Covid vaccination is "purely voluntary" for illegal migrants entering the U.S.
The bill still has to clear the Senate before it can be signed into law and take effect.
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