Psaki Says Federal Ruling To End Mask Mandate ‘A Disappointing Decision’

The White House said the federal court ruling Monday to void the Biden administration’s mask mandate for travelers using public transportation such as trains and airplanes was “obviously a disappointing decision” in light of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommending its order for passengers to wear face coverings be extended.

A federal judge on Monday voided the Biden administration’s transportation mask mandate from the CDC, which applies to people as young as 2 years old, and had been set to expire a number of times. The order was recently extended to May 3 before Monday’s ruling.

“The CDC recommended continuing the order for additional time two weeks to be able to assess the latest science in keeping with its responsibility to protect the American people, so, this is obviously a disappointing decision,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday. “The CDC continues recommending wearing a mask in public transit.” 

The ruling from U.S. District Court Judge Kathryn Kimball Mizelle came in a case brought in Florida federal court by Health Freedom Defense Fund, Inc. and frequent air travelers Ana Daza and Sarah Pope against the administration.

Judge Mizelle determined that the mandate violated the Administrative Procedure Act by being outside the scope of the CDC’s authority, was “arbitrary” and “capricious” and not going through the required notice and comment period for federal rulemaking.

The White House press secretary also stated that Biden administration is “reviewing the decision,” and added that the Justice Department will “make any determinations about litigation.”

Psaki added that the administration had ordered a two-week extension to “look at the data and make recommendations based on the data, on the science, about whether [the order] should be continued or not.” 

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