House Republicans propose bill to ban vaccine passports

House Republicans who oppose the idea that Americans should be forced to carry around a vaccine passport to prove that they have been protected against COVID-19 have now proposed a new bill that would ban the federal government from being able to enforce such documentation.

“I am profoundly disturbed that the Biden Administration would even consider imposing vaccine passports on the American people,” Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ) said in a statement Thursday. “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.”

While some states across the country are considering mandating vaccine passports, others such as Florida and Texas are not.

“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,” Biggs said.

The “No Vaccine Passport Act” would “prevent federal agencies from issuing any standardized documentation that could be used to certify a U.S. citizen’s COVID-19 status to a third party, such as a restaurant or an airline. Additionally, this bill prohibits proof of COVID-19 vaccination from being a requirement for access to federal or congressional property and services.”

The House bill has garnered the support of 18 co-sponsors. They are: Reps. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina, Greg Steube of Florida, Warren Davidson of Ohio, Ben Cline of Virginia, Yvette Herrell of New Mexico, 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.

“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,” reads one of the facets of the proposed bill. “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.”

The bill would disallow the federal government from being able to force Americans to carry around coronavirus-based documentation. Even though the federal government may bar the utility of this draconian measure, individual states are still free to do as they please.

One such state that has already moved to ban this form of documentation is Idaho—which became just the fourth state to outlaw the passport. Republican Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order prohibiting the use of “vaccine passport” laws, following the leads of Florida, Texas, and Utah. This move came amid efforts by the state of New York to push an app for people to prove that they have been vaccinated.

“Idahoans should be given the choice to receive the vaccine. We should not violate Idahoans’ personal freedoms by requiring them to receive it,” Little said in a statement.

“Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens. Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.”

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