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News & Politics

5 Republican Politicians Freaking Out About DC’s Vaccine Mandates

Everyone seems to have their own bill in Congress trying to overturn the Mayor's orders.

Photograph by Jessica Sidman.

Rand Paul

The Kentucky Senator, along with four Republican co-sponsors, has introduced legislation that would repeal what he calls “ridiculous, unscientific” DC vaccine mandates for students as well for indoor venues ranging from restaurants to gyms. While he argues the mandates infringe on the rights of parents and consumers, DC Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton calls his bill an “undemocratic” infringement on the city’s duly elected government. It’s not the first time Rand has tried to meddle with local regulations: He has previously attempted to dismantle DC’s gun control laws and legalize concealed carry.

Ted Cruz

The Texas senator likewise wants to overturn DC’s student vaccine mandate. In introducing a joint resolution last week, Cruz said the DC mandate was based on “the hysterical demands of radical liberal activists and union bosses who have no interest in what’s best for our children.”

Thomas Massie

The Kentucky congressman announced he will not to eat—not even takeout—at DC restaurants that “require papers” for dine in. “We will get our food from Virginia or we will bring it to work. Shame has befallen our nation’s capital,” he tweeted. To which his Democratic colleague Eric Swalwell replied:

Chip Roy

The Texas representative has also vowed not to show a vax card at any DC businesses requiring one. (He has, however, endorsed H Street burger joint and bar the Big Board, which has been openly defying DC’s vaccine requirement for indoor dining. “God bless you. #FreedomLives,” he tweeted.) After a DC Council candidate was carjacked last week, he appeared on Fox News saying: “They’re making it harder to get a burger in Washington, DC, harder to get a burger in your nation’s capital than it is to get carjacked.”

Matt Gaetz

Everyone’s got a bill! (Seriously.)  Gaetz and 19 co-sponsors (including Massie and Roy) also introduced legislation to nullify DC’s vaccine passport for indoor venues. The Florida politician has since directed his opposition at one very specific establishment: the Capitol Hill Club. Gaetz announced last week that he will be canceling his membership to the Republican hangout, alongside Rand and others who’ll be missing out on Valentine’s Day specials like crab-stuffed Maine lobster and a porterhouse steak for two.

Jessica Sidman
Food Editor

Jessica Sidman covers the people and trends behind D.C.’s food and drink scene. Before joining Washingtonian in July 2016, she was Food Editor and Young & Hungry columnist at Washington City Paper. She is a Colorado native and University of Pennsylvania grad.