One would result in civil penalties and fines through a heavy-handed TSA and the other would support personal freedom and economic freedom.
It is the story of two ideologies summed up in two very different approaches to how the government should continue to respond to COVID this holiday season.
Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson (R) wants the government to step up the application of masks for American travelers, while senior U.S. Senator Roger Wicker (R) wants President Joe Biden to withdraw his mandates in favor of easing the travel restrictions and helping workers keep their jobs.
Thompson, Chairperson of the House Homeland Security Committee, and Congresswomen Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ), Chairperson of the Subcommittee on Transportation and Maritime Safety, proudly announced that after pressing The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) agency has stepped up enforcement of federal COVID mandates for travelers to wear masks in transportation settings.
“We are pleased that the TSA has increased enforcement of the federal mask mandate for transportation settings, both in terms of number of enforcement actions and dollar amount,” Thompsons and Coleman said today in a joint statement. “However, the TSA must continue to increase enforcement to ensure violators face consequences. These actions are critical to holding violators accountable, discouraging unacceptable behavior, and deterring potential threats that put both travelers and the frontline TSA workforce at risk. “
Note the wording used in that quote from the two Democrats:
- Increase the application
- Unacceptable behavior
- Potential threats
It reveals how the two Congressional Democrats view the American people and the role that government must play even as the pandemic subsides with nearly 70% of the population vaccinated with at least one dose of the vaccine and 55% with both.
in a letter To the Committee, TSA Administrator David Pekoske wrote that as of November 1, 2021, the TSA has issued 2,310 Warning Notices and 199 Civil Penalty Notices for violations of the masks mandate. Additionally, the TSA has doubled the fines for mask breaches and expanded the list of factors that can qualify a person for a civil penalty. The TSA wrote that it also temporarily suspends access to PreCheck for people who receive a warning or a fine.
Compare Thompson’s request to Senator Wicker’s recent comments.
According to the Washington PostMonday was the deadline for federal employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. Monday’s WP article – “Air travelers find long security lines at National despite revamped checkpoints ”- sparked a cheep on Wednesday from the Senator from Mississippi.
“Travelers face long lines at the airport this Christmas season,” wrote Senator Wicker. “President Biden’s vaccine mandates could make the delays worse next year. The president should withdraw his terms before they wreak havoc on our economy. “
The TSA told the Post that 93 percent of its workers met the deadline for the federal employee vaccine mandate and exemption requirements.
“Employees who fail to comply could face layoff, but the agency said the mandate would not affect vacation travel,” the Post reported.
So Senator Wicker written for Op-Ed in July calling on President Biden to end the mandate of masks on airplanes.
“Americans who have recently stepped onto an airport or train station probably felt like they were stepping back in time. Although the pandemic is subsiding and masks are no longer necessary in most settings, those who wish to board a plane or train are still forced to wear masks, even if they are fully vaccinated, ”Wicker wrote. “Passengers are instructed to keep their masks on even while eating and drinking, ‘between bites’, as if doing so would stop the spread of the virus. Those who refuse to comply risk losing their seats, being denied service in the future, and even being fined. Americans are getting fed up with these ruling rules that are not based on scientific fact. “
Wicker said that national politics is totally unnecessary given the positive trends we are seeing.