WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) joined Sen. John Thune (R-SD) and their Senate Republican colleagues to introduce a resolution that would allow Congress to nullify a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Interim Final Rule (IFR) that requires all staff and volunteers in Head Start educational facilities around the country to be fully vaccinated and wear a mask. Most notably, this resolution would reverse the IFR’s mandate for all children two years of age and older to wear a mask, including when playing outside. Congress can consider this resolution using expedited procedures under the Congressional Review Act (CRA) and can pass it by a simple majority vote.
Head Start is a federal program that provides qualifying, low-income children with early education services. Arkansas has more than 300 Head Start locations for children from infant to 5-years-old. Up until the issuance of this IFR, individual locations had been able to set and enforce their own COVID-19 protocols.
“This is yet another example of government overreach from the Biden administration,” Boozman said. “I’ve been fighting against the burdensome directives imposed by bureaucrats in Washington and I will continue to advocate for the rights of children, parents and educators. Arkansas schools have implemented reasonable safety guidelines which I would encourage Head Start and other federal programs to follow in order to keep kids and adults safe.”
“Not only is this decision to police schoolyard activities yet another affront to parents’ rights by the Biden administration, even worse is nothing about this nationwide policy is based on science or common sense,” said Thune. “A toddler mask mandate highlights everything that’s wrong with Washington, which is why I introduced this common-sense resolution that would prohibit the Biden administration from enforcing or implementing this intrusive, one-size-fits-all Washington rule on America’s children.”
Boozman and Thune were joined by U.S. Sens. John Barrasso (R-WY), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Hoeven (R-ND), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Mike Rounds (R-SD), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Rick Scott (R-FL) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
Boozman has been persistent in fighting the Biden administration’s COVID-19 mandates. Last November, the Senate, under the CRA and with Boozman’s support, moved to disapprove and nullify the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate on private sector employers, which was eventually blocked by the Supreme Court. In December, he joined over 20 colleagues in introducing a resolution that would halt President Biden’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services vaccine mandate for over 10 million health care employees.