Biggs introduces bill to bar Biden administration from mandating COVID-19 testing for domestic travel

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EXCLUSIVE: Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., on Monday introduced legislation to bar the Biden administration from introducing a mandate that passengers on domestic flights have a negative COVID-19 test before flying — warning it would devastate the airline industry.

The bill is in response to comments made by Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, who said in an interview with Axios that there was an “active conversation” about whether to mandate testing for domestic flights. 

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“There’s an active conversation with the CDC right now,” he said. “What I can tell you is, it’s going to be guided by data, by science, by medicine, and by the input of the people who are actually going to have to carry this out.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last month that negative tests will be required on all international flights, following the more infectious strain coming from abroad. 

While Buttigieg did not commit to such a policy, the statement raised concern from Biggs and others that it could be coming.

“It is outrageous that the Biden administration is contemplating new regulations or guidelines to require passengers to undergo COVID-19 testing before domestic air travel,” Biggs said. “This is another unscientific, bureaucratic action designed to control Americans’ lives and increase dependence on government. Further, such a mandate would devastate the airline industry and destroy massive sectors of our recovering economy.”

The bill would bar the transportation secretary “from setting a requirement that air carriers and foreign air carriers must require an individual to test negative for COVID-19 to travel in air transportation on an air carrier, and for other purposes.”

CDC MANDATES MASKS ON FLIGHTS, OTHER PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION 

“I fly domestically regularly each month, and I observe the efforts of the airlines to make each passenger safe,” the Arizona representative said. “The Biden administration should listen to the airline executives and heed the science of healthy air travel. This misguided idea should not become implemented policy under any circumstances.” 

The debate over a potential domestic flight requirement comes days after the CDC issued an order last month mandating masks on all public transportation, including airplanes.

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The order, which goes into effect last week, says individuals “must wear masks over the mouth and nose when traveling on conveyance into and within the United States,” as well as “at transportation hubs,” such as airports, bus terminals, marinas, and subway stations. 

Fox News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.

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