Cawthorn, Lee introduce bills banning interstate travel vaccine mandate

Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-N.C.) and Sen. Mike LeeMichael (Mike) Shumway LeeCongress averts shutdown after vaccine mandate fight On The Money — Congress races to keep the lights on House sets up Senate shutdown showdown MORE (R-Utah) on Wednesday introduced bills in the House and Senate that would ban federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates for interstate travel.

If signed into law, Cawthorn's "Let Me Travel America Act" would prevent the Biden administration and any federal agency or authority from requiring vaccine passports for interstate travel, transportation or movement.

"Vaccine requirements for interstate travel are in direct opposition to the United States Constitution," Cawthorn said in a statement released by his office. 

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Lee, who introduced a companion bill in the Senate, called the effort to introduce a ban on such a mandate "common-sense" and "practical."

"An interstate travel vaccine mandate would leave individuals marooned in states where they cannot work, cannot go to restaurants, and cannot leave," Lee said. "Businesses already hard-hit by the pandemic in the travel and hospitality sectors would be further strained."

The introduction of the bills comes as the Biden administration debates imposing vaccine mandates for domestic air travel. In response to a recent question about the status of the idea, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiOvernight Health Care — Presented by March of Dimes — Biden's winter COVID-19 strategy Biden lays out multi-pronged plan to deal with evolving pandemic White House defends travel ban on African countries MORE said, "We haven’t taken options off the table."

Cawthorn said he was proud to join Lee in fighting against a potential interstate vaccine mandate.

"I will keep fighting to prohibit the Biden administration from trampling Americans’ rights and liberties," he said.