US should require Covid-19 vaccine or negative test for domestic air travel, Democrats say

White House says 'everything is on the table'

People enter the baggage claim area from the international arrivals terminal at Sea-Tac Airport in Seattle, Washington. Reuters
Beta V.1.0 - Powered by automated translation

Three dozen Democratic members of the US Congress on Friday urged President Joe Biden to require domestic airline passengers to show proof of vaccination against Covid-19 or a negative test result.

“This is a necessary and long overdue step towards ensuring all Americans feel safe and confident while travelling and reduce the chances of yet another devastating winter surge,” said a letter from members of Congress, led by representatives Don Beyer and Ritchie Torres as well as Dianne Feinstein, a senator.

On Monday, the US imposed new rules that require nearly all foreign nationals looking to fly to the US to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative Covid-19 test.

The Biden administration also lifted travel restrictions that had barred most foreign nationals who had recently been in China, Brazil, South Africa, Iran and much of Europe.

Asked why the administration was not imposing any requirements on domestic air travel, White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters on Monday: “Everything is on the table. We just don’t have any announcement to preview right now on this.”

The letter, signed by senior Democrats including Jerrold Nadler, Adam Schiff, David Cicilline, Barbara Lee and Eleanor Holmes Norton, praised the administration's adoption of international vaccine requirements.

“Applying similar strategies to domestic air travel would ensure Americans can travel safely to see their loved ones during the holidays while also limiting household introduction and spread of Covid-19 from visiting family and friends,” the letter said.

Updated: November 12, 2021, 11:40 PM