Federal bill introduced to drop COVID-19 vaccine policies for foreign travel

Published: Feb. 15, 2023 at 1:47 PM CST
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TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - U.S. Senator Roger Marshall has helped introduce a bill that would drop policies that require foreign travelers to provide proof of a COVID-19 vaccine when they enter the U.S.

On Wednesday, Feb. 15, U.S. Senator Roger Marshall (R-Kan.) says he joined Sens. Kevin Cramer (R-N.D.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Mike Braun (R-Ind.) to introduce the Travel Freedom Act which would repeal federal policies that require international travelers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

“Millions of individuals, including many involved in the North American supply chain, need to legally travel in and out of the United States on a regular basis for their jobs. Requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for a work-related commute or responsibility is an unnecessary headache, but, for the Biden administration, vaccine politics come before the American economy,” Marshall said. “Our legislation puts an end to this madness and reopens the United States for business to all individuals, regardless of their vaccination status.”

As a result of these policies, Marshall said the flow of goods between the U.S. and Canada has significantly slowed and foreign visitors are barred from visiting American family members, among other issues.

“The Biden Administration’s unnecessary COVID-19 mandates have slowed the flow of goods and services. As a Northern border state, North Dakotans know this better than most as so many of our businesses and communities are intertwined with Canada,” Cramer said. “Our state relies on commerce and visitors from our neighbors to the north. This bill would rightfully repeal the vaccine mandate for travelers, which the Biden Administration should have done a long time ago.”

Currently, Marshall noted that an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention mandates any foreign traveler to provide documentation of a COVID-19 vaccine to gain entry to the U.S. Additionally, an order from the Department of Homeland Security requires foreign travelers to provide vaccination status at land borders to gain entrance.

“To quote President Biden, ‘the Pandemic is over.’ Despite the efforts of most to move on from restrictive COVID-era policies, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) still requires foreign travelers entering the United States to provide proof that they have received the COVID-19 vaccine. This archaic policy prevents family members from seeing each other and slows the flow of goods between countries. The United States is open for business, and it’s time that our policies reflect that,” Lee said.

The Senators indicated that the new bill would eliminate those orders and prohibit future orders of this nature.

“The pandemic is over. The Biden administration should not continue to mandate vaccine passports and reopen the United States to international travel and economic growth regardless of vaccination status,” Braun said.

Marshall also noted that he has strongly opposed COVID-19 vaccine mandates.