Republican Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona has introduced legislation that would ban the federal government from issuing so-called vaccine passports.
Vaccine passports, and similar documents with other names, have been proposed as a way to allow operators of entertainment venues, offices and airlines to screen people wishing to gain admittance. The concept is that individuals would use an app on their phone that would show they had been vaccinated against the coronavirus in order to gain entry to an event or place.
New York state is implementing what Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo has dubbed the Excelsior Pass, in which venues can scan a QR code to determine an individual’s vaccination status. Cuomo said the pass is designed to allow entertainment venues to safely reopen.
A March 28 report from The Washington Post, however, implied the Biden administration favors the passport concept but is unwilling to create a system on its own.
Biggs, the chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, wants to stop that idea before it starts.
“I am profoundly disturbed that the Biden Administration would even consider imposing vaccine passports on the American people. My private healthcare decisions — and yours — are nobody else’s business. Vaccine passports will not help our nation recover from COVID-19; instead, they will simply impose more Big Brother surveillance on our society,” the congressman said in a Thursday news release.
“I especially applaud Florida Governor Ron DeSantis for being an early leader against vaccine passports at the state level. My No Vaccine Passports Act builds on his efforts and will further protect Americans’ privacy rights and fundamental freedoms.”
Republican Gov. DeSantis signed an executive order banning the use of vaccine passports in his state. Governors of other states, including Missouri and Kansas, have followed suit. Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott has also come out against the passport concept.
Other prominent conservative figures similarly opposed the idea.
Requiring Americans to show proof of vaccination, or a ‘vaccine passport,’ in order to engage in society is outrageous and un-American. This isn’t about containing a virus, but is just another dangerous idea from the Left in their quest for more power and control.
— Mike Pompeo (@mikepompeo) April 5, 2021
Thanks to the safe vaccines from Operation Warp Speed, we will defeat the virus. But forcing Americans to carry a “vaccine passport” to go about daily life is unacceptable in a free society.
That’s something you’d expect in Communist China. Not in the United States of America.
— Kevin McCarthy (@GOPLeader) April 7, 2021
The “No Vaccine Passports Act” proposed by Biggs says it is designed to “prohibit agencies from issuing vaccine passports.”
“An agency may not issue a vaccine passport, vaccine pass, or other standardized documentation for the purpose of certifying the COVID- 19 vaccination status of a citizen of the United States to a third party, or otherwise publish or share any COVID-19 vaccination record of a citizen of the United States, or similar health information,” the legislation added.
“Proof of COVID-19 vaccination shall not be deemed a requirement for access to Federal property or Federal services, or for access to congressional grounds or services.”
Scott Kirby, the CEO of United Airlines, said Thursday that when it comes to international travel, some form of documentation — whatever anyone wants to call it — will be required to prove vaccination status.
“I am supportive of some kind of vaccine passport as a way to begin opening international borders,” Kirby said, according to The Hill.
“My guess is we’re not going to wind up doing that domestically, and hopefully we’ll get close enough to herd immunity that we’re OK,” he said. “I don’t see it happening in the U.S.”
The bill has 18 Republican cosponsors: Reps. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Greg Steube of Florida, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Ben Cline of Virginia, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, Andy Harris of Maryland, Louie Gohmert of Texas, Russ Fulcher of Idaho, Chip Roy of Texas, Mary Miller of Illinois, Bill Posey of Florida, Ralph Norman of South Carolina, Madison Cawthorn of North Carolina, Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Ted Budd of North Carolina, Randy Weber of Texas, Scott Perry of Pennsylvania and Jody Hice of Georgia.
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