Dianne Feinstein seeks to block aid to states without mask mandates

Federal COVID aid will get even more political if the Senate’s senior Democrat gets her way.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, California Democrat, wants to use federal coronavirus relief to force every state to require the wearing of masks in public.

The Senate will take up the next coronavirus economic relief bill later this month. At that time, I intend to offer an amendment to prohibit sending funds to states that haven’t adopted a statewide mask requirement,” Ms. Feinstein said in a statement posted on her website.

Ms. Feinstein said there should be no leeway on this subject for local officials.

“Countries that are successfully controlling this virus require masks. So why doesn’t the United States have a national mask mandate? Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period,” she said.

She added that governors in certain states, though she didn’t name any, have not done what she thinks ought to be done and therefore should lose their power over the matter.

“Several states including California, Alabama and Montana already require masks in public. This should be universal. 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,” she wrote.

Ms. Feinstein concluded with “this is a matter of life or death, and partisan politics shouldn’t play a role.”

Sign up for Daily Newsletters