Last week Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced legislation to provide free masks for everyone in America including those in prison and the homeless.
Sanders leads a team of 14 Senators championing mask availability in America, claiming it could prevent "tens of thousands of deaths COVID-19" and could produce economic benefits up to "$1 trillion."
Under the Masks For All Act, everyone would receive a package of three high quality, reusable face masks, "free of charge." These masks would be delivered to people's homes through the U.S. Postal Service, and to those without mail service would be able to pick up the maks at post offices, pharmacies, schools, public transportation stations, and COVID-19 testing sites.
The bill would also provide needed surgical masks and N-95 respirators to all workers in health settings.
These Democrat Senators are seeking a whopping $5 billion in federal funding in order to execute the plan.
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) criticized the Trump administration for "inaction" during a time of crisis" and not being prepared for the pandemic, even though no one could have ever predicted the turmoil COVID-19 would bring to America.
"The fact is, this administration’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic has been a failure," said Harris. "Its inaction when it comes to fully implementing the Defense Production Act and preparing our country’s stockpile of protective equipment and supplies, including masks, has been disastrous and deadly."
Today, an op-ed written by Sanders was published in USA Today that explained the necessity of the bill and slammed Trump's handling of the pandemic in the country.
"Unfortunately, with the Trump administration incapable of acting in a competent and scientific manner, Congress — in a bipartisan way — must take the lead," wrote Sanders. "Our Masks for All legislation will instruct the Trump administration to utilize the Defense Production Act to produce and deliver three high-quality, reusable masks to every person in the country via the U.S. postal system."
There is no real explanation of just how Sanders expects to get the $5 billion for his bill, but we can already assume just like his free college plan, hardworking Americans will be paying for it dearly.
Republicans have already slammed Democrats for their disillusioned spending in the next stimulus package on issues like the continuation of $600 in unemployment, and $175 billion in rent and mortgage assistance, among countless other unfeasible spending proposals. This new initiative of Sanders is no different.
The Democrats claim in the long run their mask mandate will save America $1 trillion with the avoidance of another lockdown, citing a Goldman Sachs analysis from June. Oddly enough, a majority of cities and states with Democratic leadership already have mask mandates in place.
According to a June ABC News-Ipsos poll, 90% of Americans say they wear masks in public. A total of 34 states have issued mask mandates requiring individuals to wear masks in public when social distancing is not possible. Most of these states will issue hefty fines to those who break the rules.
While at the start of the pandemic it was harder for Americans to get their hands on masks due to price gouging and availability, today people can buy face masks for under a $1 at some retailers.
Therefore, for most people, other than having three extra masks on hand, Sanders's bill changes nothing, other than forcing Americans to pay more to the federal government during these tough times.
Sanders wants the bill passed "immediately" and said the matter is an urgent necessity.
In this unprecedented moment in American history we need to come together — government and private sector, manufacturers and workers, scientists and ordinary citizens — to combat this horrific pandemic," concluded Sanders. "Making sure that every American has a high-quality mask, and wears it, is an important step forward in achieving that goal."