Terminating Cdc Requirement for Proof of Covid-19 Vaccination for Foreign Travelers

Floor Speech

Date: Feb. 8, 2023
Location: Washington, DC


Mrs. DINGELL. Mr. Chair, I rise today in strong opposition of H.R. 185.

Detroit Metropolitan Airport is a leading international hub with over 1,100 flights daily to and from four continents. Every year, the airport welcomes more than 36 million passengers from across the world.

Southeast Michigan was hit hard by the coronavirus, and orders like the COVID-19 vaccine requirement for global travelers entering the United States helped mitigate its further spread into our communities.

Our nation is entering a new phase of our recovery, but COVID-19 remains a real public health threat. The emergence of new variants globally continues to put our own nation at risk.

That's why legislation we are considering today is misguided. These decisions must be rooted in science and made by our Nation's leading public health experts, not politicians.

We know the best way to defeat this pandemic is for people within the United States and around the world to get vaccinated, and this legislation is contrary to this goal.

I urge all my colleagues to oppose this measure,

Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chair, I rise in opposition to H.R. 185, to terminate the requirement imposed by the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for proof of Covid-19 vaccination for foreign travelers.

H.R. 185 is hasty attempt to reverse the order issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention without any proper planning or preparation.

The Amended Order Implementing Presidential Proclamation on Advancing the Safe Resumption of Global Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic was first published on April 7, 2022, and was implemented to save lives.

The CDC order imposes necessary restrictions on the entry of noncitizens into the United States by air travel unless they are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or otherwise attest that they will take public health measures to prevent the spread of the disease.

Similar restrictions have been implemented and enforced worldwide, and countries like Thailand have had to reimplement such restrictions after lifting them.

Now is not the time to roll back protections, only to be in a place where we will need to reimpose more onerous and unwanted lockdowns and shutdowns across the country.

Yet, H.R. 185 would nullify any successor or subsequent orders that require foreign persons traveling by air to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entry, as well as prohibit the use of federal funds to administer or enforce such a requirement.

Mr. Chair, the wellbeing of the American People should hold the utmost importance and any act against their health and wellbeing should be strongly condemned.

Since March 2020, life in Houston--like most of the world--has been upended.

Houston, Texas is the 4th largest city in the country and is one of the most racially and ethnically diverse cities in the United States.

In addition to Houston being a culturally diverse city and home to international students, residents, and families from all over the world, Houston also serves as an international hub for millions of people all over the world who travel to my city every year for both leisure and business.

According to the Houston First Corporation, a record 22.3 million people from around the world visited Houston in 2018.

Notably, the 2023 Houston Rodeo season, scheduled for Feb. 28-March 19, is the largest rodeo in the world and contributes significantly to our city's economy. In 2022, this event attracted over 2.4 million international travelers from around the world.

Despite the senseless and disingenuous politicization of the COVID-19 vaccine, it has and continues to save countless lives--particularly in my home state and internationally rich travel hub of Houston, Texas.

In Houston, specifically Harris County, there have been 1,058,476 confirmed COVID-19 cases, 7,839 active cases, 1,041,939 recovered, and 8,589 deaths. Furthermore, Texas as a state has recorded 8.24 million cases and 93,366 deaths.

In the United States, there have been 102 million confirmed case and 1.11 million deaths.

And across the globe, there have been 671 million confirmed cases and 6.83 million deaths.

These statistics serve as a harrowing reminder of the gravity of this epidemic and the caution we should be taking in ensuring preventative responses and remaining vigilant against the spread of COVID-19.

Rolling back critical vaccination policies put in place to protect Americans through hasty measures such as H.R. 185, undermines the national mission and unified efforts nationwide to prevent future cases infiltrating our communities.

While progress has certainly been made in protecting Americans from this deadly virus, we cannot stand for the erosion of such progress through ill-conceived and politicized measures.

As we continue to make strides to prevent and eradicate current and future variants plaguing our cities, states, nation, and world, let it be known that H.R. 185 would only serve to disregard the health and well-being of all Americans, foolishly jeopardizing our lives and the ongoing fight to keep everyone healthy and safe.

Instead of halting vital funding and vaccine policies for international travelers, without a plan or forethought of the disastrous impact that will inevitably result, it is imperative that we stand together in planning and preparing for smart policy shifts that will allow our country to effectively and safely ease back into some sense of normalcy.

Anything less is an abdication of our governmental duties and an insult and danger to the welfare of all those we are sworn to serve.

With strong opposition to this bill, I urge my Republican colleagues to step back and actually work with us to lay forward common sense implementations of care and safety for our fellow Americans.