Biden administration pushes back on GOP effort to end vaccine requirement for international air travelers

The Biden administration is pushing back on Republican efforts to end the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for international travelers flying into the U.S., citing the desire to reduce the spread of the coronavirus and avoid placing a burden on the country’s healthcare system.

‘While COVID-19 is no longer the disruptive threat that it once was, the Administration opposes Congressional action to reverse the vaccination requirement for noncitizen non-immigrants entering the United States by air,’ the administration said in a Tuesday statement.

‘This policy has allowed loved ones across the globe to reunite while reducing the spread of COVID-19 and the burdens it places on the health care system in the United States,’ the White House statement added.

The expressed support for continuing its policy for international air travelers comes amid a push by Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., to end the requirement.

Massie introduced HR 185 last month, which would prevent enforcement of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) order published in April 2022 prohibiting international travelers from entering the U.S. without showing proof of vaccination against the coronavirus.

‘If you watched C-SPAN last week, you saw 434 Members of Congress gathered in the Capitol screaming, yelling, cheering, and speaking. Many of these members are unvaccinated, and many haven’t taken boosters,’ Massie said in a statement on Jan.12. 

‘So, why do we subject visitors who want to see their families to this COVID-19 double standard? The CDC’s unscientific mandate is separating too many people from their families and has been doing so for far too long. It needs to end,’ he said.

Despite its continued support for the policy, the administration’s statement did acknowledge that the country was approaching ‘the end of the public health emergency,’ and that it would let science guide ‘any termination or modification’ of any given policy.

‘A vote for this bill undercuts that critical principle,’ it added.

Fox News’ Mark Meredith contributed to this report.

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