Cruz looks to overturn DC student vaccine mandate

Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzProgressive millionaire group backs Cisneros, McBath in first public endorsements Manchin and Sinema must help Biden make the Supreme Court look more like America Flake meets with Erdoğan in first official duties as US ambassador MORE (R-Texas) said on Wednesday that he wants to introduce a bill to overturn Washington's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for school children. 

Cruz shared his plans in a press release sent on Wednesday.

Cruz said Tuesday on the Ben Shapiro Show that "the school board has no right to force you to get your 5-year old vaccinated" and that he is introducing a bill in the Senate to overturn the vaccine mandate for school kids.

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He spoke about vaccine mandates being introduced all across the U.S and laid the blame for it on Democrats.

"These mandates, we're seeing them all over the place. You know, we're seeing them in schools. It is amazing how many Democrats are willing to try to force parents to get their kid vaccinated," said Cruz.

He told Shapiro that under the Constitution, "the District of Columbia is under the authority of Congress."

Cruz reiterated his belief that vaccination should be a choice, adding that if parents don't want to vaccinate their children, then "petty authoritarians" should not make the decision for them. 

"It’s a pattern we're seeing across the board," he continued.

Cruz implied that the Biden administration's vaccine mandate was a political move, not a scientific one. “I don't know that it was ever science — this administration treated it as politics from day one." 

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He added that children in schools were falling behind because of the pandemic and COVID-19-related school closures.

“And if you look right now where we are, 40 percent of parents across the country of school aged kids say that their child has fallen behind due to the pandemic and the school closures. And yet nonetheless, we've got right now this week, nearly 4,000 schools across this country are shut down. They're not offering in-person school for at least one day of the week and many of them for every day of the week."

"This is wrong. It’s hurting children. … Unfortunately, the union bosses — they don't give a damn about the kids,” he added on school closures.

D.C. congressional delegate Eleanor Holmes NortonEleanor Holmes NortonHolmes Norton: Cruz effort to block DC student vaccine mandate 'crosses the line' Overnight Health Care — Presented by AstraZeneca and Friends of Cancer Research — Former advisers urge Biden to revise strategy Cruz looks to overturn DC student vaccine mandate MORE (D) said in a statement Thursday that she would fight to defeat Cruz's effort. 

Norton blasted Cruz and called him a "frequent violator of D.C. home rule, despite professing to support local control of local affairs" and said he "thinks he knows best how to keep D.C. students and schools safe." 

"The duly elected D.C. Council represents the nearly 700,000 D.C. residents, not Senator Cruz. I will defeat his latest attempt to abuse Congress’ authority over D.C., just as I have defeated all of his prior attempts," Norton said.

Ted Cruz and a number of other Republican lawmakers have been outspoken critics of vaccine mandates.

Cruz did not immediately respond to The Hill's request for comment.

D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserThe Hill's Morning Report - Who will replace Justice Breyer? Bowser extends DC mask mandate through February Mask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House MORE (D) announced in December that the city will require all eligible students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 by March 1, 2022. 

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The D.C. Council voted in December to require eligible District school students to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, the mandate won't kick in until the 2022-23 school year, according to local news outlet WTOP

Schools in Los Angeles in September 2021 announced similar measures to D.C.'s that will require students 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, though the school board delayed the requirement to the coming fall due to lack of compliance.