VERMONT Senator Bernie Sanders on Tuesday, July 28 introduced new legislation to provide masks for every American as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
The senator — a former presidential contender whose platform was largely on ‘Medicare For All’ — said the reusable masks would be free of charge for people in the United States.
“Masks save lives, period. Today I am introducing legislation to provide high-quality, reusable masks to every person in this country free of charge. This is a no-brainer,” Sanders wrote in a tweet on Tuesday.
His proposal has received support from over 30 Democratic members in the Senate and House.
The Masks for All Act is cosponsored by Senators Kamala Harris (D-CA), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Gary Peters (D-MI), and Senators Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Doug Jones (D-AL), Ed Markey (D-MA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Tina Smith (D-MN), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA). Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA), Lori Trahan (D-MA), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-NJ) introduced the Masks for All Act in the House, with more than two dozen cosponsors.
“We are the only high-income country in the world where infections and deaths are skyrocketing instead of falling. Nearly 150,000 are dead and 1,000 more are dying every day. That is an absolute scandal,” said Sanders in another statement. “Dozens of my colleagues and I are proposing that we do what our public health experts and scientists say we must do. This is not a political or partisan issue. Providing all of our people with high-quality, reusable masks without cost could save tens of thousands of lives and avoid hundreds of billions of dollars in economic harm.”
In addition, the legislation provides pick-up sites for additional masks at convenient community locations that are already providing essential services, such as Post Offices, pharmacies, schools, public transportation stations, and COVID-19 testing sites. Finally, the bill would provide needed surgical masks and N-95 respirators to all workers in health settings. To do this, the Masks for All Act would use all available authorities, including the Defense Production Act.
Thirty states across the country have enacted requirements that people must wear face coverings while in public in order to slow the spread of the virus. (AJPress)