House Democrats vote to block the Unmask Our Kids Act

AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File

Rep. Ashley Hinson (R-IA) introduced a motion in the House, H.R. 6619, that would require schools to remain open for in-class learning. It also allows parents to opt-out of school mask mandates in order for local education agencies to receive funding from the Department of Education. Two hundred and twenty-one House Democrats voted against Hinson’s motion.

Known as the Unmask our Kids Act, H.R. 6619 is quite simple, only two pages long – “To prohibit the Secretary of Education from providing Federal funds to a local educational agency unless in-person instruction is available to all students and parents may opt out of student mask mandates, and for other purposes. ” This bill allows children to go to school and gives parents the final say on if their child wears a face mask in school. It is a particularly timely bill, given the interest now by blue state governors to relax face mask mandates.

In Pennsylvania, and in Virginia, parents are working to end mask mandates in schools through state legislation. Randi Weingarten, President of the American Federation of Teachers is even speaking out about finding a way to reverse course on face masks in schools, well, kinda. Yet, House Democrats locked arms and failed to vote in favor of unmasking children.

Five Republicans spoke on the House floor in favor of the resolution. The five were Reps. Hinson, Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Jake LaTurner (R-KS), Mariannette Miller-Meeks (R-IA), and Richard Hudson (R-NC).

Hinson spoke and said the following:

Across the country, children are struggling. Despite being nearly two full years into the pandemic, tens of thousands of students started off this year still being forced to learn behind a screen, cut off from their peers.

And many school districts are mandating masks for children of all ages, against their parents’ wishes.

Parents should have the option to send their kids to school in person, and to decide whether they want their kids to wear a mask at school.…

And Governor Reynolds stood up for families by banning school mask mandates and allowing parents to make this personal health decision for their own children.

That’s at the heart of this issue—parents should be empowered to make the choices that impact their children’s physical and mental health, their development, and their future.

As a mom, I know why parents across the country are standing up and speaking out when they are being told they can’t decide what is right for their kids and family.

And it is infuriating to watch the same people who push for kids to wear masks all day long flout the rules for a photo-op or for a night on the town.

Democrats have remained faithful to their mantra of “follow the science” during the pandemic. They’ve labeled those who do not succumb to each and every move by the government to seize control of personal health decisions of Americans as anti-science Neanderthals. Now, the data clearly points to the fact that masks don’t stop the spread of the virus, especially the Omicron variant. The cloth masks most people wear are essentially just decoration. Following the science now means that blue state Democrat governors are looking into responding to growing demands from voters that the mandates end, certainly those placed on school children. The kids are not ok.

House Minority Leader McCarthy issued a statement.

“Today House Democrats voted against students, against parental choice, and against science. This is more of the same from the party that has spent two years championing lockdowns and mandates. In the name of ‘science,’ liberal politicians kept schools closed for months, shut down playgrounds, and completely altered the childhood of an entire generation of children.

“When offered an opportunity to correct course, the Democrats in this chamber doubled down on keeping kids in masks. The timing is especially frustrating to parents who have seen the same Democrat politicians pushing mandates, blatantly ignoring the very restrictions they are forcing on kids.

“The Unmask Our Kids Act recognizes and meets the needs of children and parents – ensuring that students return not only to in-person learning, but to normal. Children deserve normalcy now. They deserve normalcy in the classroom, on the playground, in the lunchroom, on the sports field, and anywhere else where kids should be able to be kids. House Republicans will continue to fight for families and students who have had enough of the Democrats’ Covid theater and elite hypocrisy.”

New Jersey’s Governor Murphy and Connecticut Governor Lamont both announced this week plans to put a halt to school mask mandates. The Democrat governors of Oregon and Delaware have announced plans to end indoor mask mandates next month. Democrats are feeling the heat and reading polls. They know that this is a top issue for voters. They need only look at what happened in Virginia in its last election cycle. A deep blue Virginia went red because parents are involved in standing up for their children. Enough is enough.

Some Democrats are stubbornly holding out for the continued abuse of children who are being forced to keep a mask on their faces for up to eight hours a day in school. They cite the CDC’s guidelines which still recommend masks be worn in school.

Gov. Kathy Hochul of New York is scheduled to let mask mandates expire with an announcement coming today. She is one of many Democrats caught hypocritically unmasked while children around them are masked.

I guess the science has changed enough now that even the White House is ready to make its own announcement today in a “suddenly scheduled” press conference. Polls must be really bad.

The science hasn’t changed, of course. The mandates failed miserably to stop the pandemic. Some, like vaccines, have increased the likelihood that cases will be less severe and require less hospitalization and deaths for those vaccinated, which is a good thing. Masks, though, are not an effective way to stop the spread of the virus, especially since most people wear cloth masks. That’s the science. We’ll see how long the White House continues to kowtow to teacher unions who demand draconian mandates continue indefinitely.