House Republicans who oppose forcing Americans to carry vaccine passports to prove they have been inoculated against COVID-19 have proposed a new bill to ban the federal government from demanding 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 are beginning to mandate vaccine passports, others, like Florida, 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 18 Republican co-sponsors — 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 provisions 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 prevent the federal government from mandating passports, but states can still mandate their own.
But some states have already moved to ban the documents.
Last week, Idaho became the fourth state to ban requiring proof of vaccination before residents can use certain public services or goods. GOP Gov. Brad Little signed an executive order prohibiting “vaccine passport” laws, following the leads of Florida, Texas, and Utah. Little’s order also comes after the state of New York began pushing an app for people to prove their vaccination status in February.
“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.”