New Mask Guidance Reversal for Fully-Vaccinated Americans Spurs Rubio Bill Introduction

On Thursday, Mississippi Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith (R) joined Florida Senator Marco Rubio (R) in introducing legislation requiring a federal review of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decision-making and messaging process.

Rubio introduced the Restore Public Health Institution Trust Act following the issuance of CDC guidance that reversed previous mask guidance for fully vaccinated Americans.  The bill would require a Government Accountability Office (GAO) examination of the CDC.

“Most Americans understand why health policies evolve as we fight the coronavirus, but they also deserve competence from the agencies entrusted to guide us through this pandemic.  I appreciate the CDC and its work, but the newest CDC mask guidance is sowing confusion and skepticism, which is counterproductive,” Hyde-Smith said.

Sen. Hyde-Smith later shared the following on Facebook:

 

“I believe a GAO review of CDC decision-making processes could spur improvements at CDC and help restore confidence in subsequent health policy announcements,” Hyde-Smith said.

The CDC on Tuesday issued guidance requiring indoor masking for all vaccinated individuals in areas reporting over 50 new cases per 100,000 individuals over the previous seven-day period.  The CDC released the recommendation without providing a clear, verifiable justification for why the science on the Delta variant in July 2021 is substantially different from May 2021 data.

The bill by the Senators would require the GAO to review these items and make recommendations on ways the CDC should improve its approach:

  • The data being used to make recommendations;
  • The effect of inconsistent messaging on Americans’ trust in the CDC and willingness to follow the guidance, including as it relates to vaccine uptake;
  • The degree to which outside entities, like teachers unions, were in a position to impact recommendations.

Additional cosponsors include Senators Michael Braun (R-Ind.), Steve Daines (R-Mont.), James Inhofe (R-Okla.), James Lankford (R-Okla.), Cynthia Lummis (R-Wyo.), John Thune (R-S.D.), Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), and Todd Young (R-Ind.).