As the GOP prepares to reveal their stimulus package proposal, CARES 2, on Monday, one Senator is hoping to see stricter eligibility for further aid tied to a state's response to the coronavirus. On July 16, Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein called on the Senate to back an amendment that would withhold relief from states that do not implement mask mandates.
In a statement shared to her website, Feinstein, citing the surge in coronavirus cases across the country, said that there is an immediate need for "serious action" and called upon her colleagues to back an amendment "to prohibit sending funds to states that haven't adopted a statewide mask requirement." Feinstein said that she was planning to introduce the amendment as Senate Republicans introduce the next stimulus package, which, among other things, is expected to include an additional round of stimulus checks as well as funding for schools as they reopen. Stating that the United States is "failing to control this virus," Feinstein said that "countries that are successfully controlling this virus require masks."
"The situation is getting worse daily. Several states, including California, Alabama and Montana, already require masks in public. This should be universal," she said. "My hope has been that other governors would show the leadership to institute their own mask mandates, but so far that hasn't happened. It's time for Congress to step in. This is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn't play a role."
Although masks and face coverings have proven controversial, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all people wear cloth face coverings when in public and in places where "social distancing measures are difficult to maintain," such as grocery stores and pharmacies. The coverings, the CDC says, help "to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others." Masks have also been endorsed by Vice President Mike Pence and President Donald Trump, who was initially hesitant to be seen in public wearing a face covering but recently shared a photo of himself with one, calling it an act of patriotism.
As coronavirus cases continue to surge across the nation, recently surpassing 4 million confirmed cases and more than 146,000 deaths, a number of states have implemented new mandates in an attempt to slow the spread. States including California, Alabama, and Montana, as well as some cities, have ordered that masks be worn in public. Others have been far more reluctant, with Georgia's Brian Kemp and South Dakota's Kristi Noem resisting implementing mask mandates.