Senator Dianne Feinstein just pulled a very Dianne Feinstein move, announcing a proposed amendment to the next federal stimulus package that would withhold money from states where face masks in public are not yet mandatory.
"Wearing masks in public should be mandatory. Period," Feinstein said in a statement issued late Thursday. "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."
Currently there are statewide mask mandates in about half of U.S. states including California, Texas, Alabama, and Montana — with the latter two conservative states just joining the mask brigade this week. But also this week we saw Georgia Governor Brian Kemp inexplicably trying to push back on cities that had instituted mask orders, saying that Georgians didn't need a mandate — and vocalizing a familiar, infuriating Republican talking point about individual freedom. And Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt became the first state governor to test positive for COVID-19, just weeks after he helped host a mostly mask-free rally for President Donald Trump in Tulsa.
Also this week, some of the biggest retailers in the country, including Walmart, Target, and Starbucks, have issued nationwide requirements that all employees and customers wear masks.
"Leader McConnell said the Senate will take up the next coronavirus economic relief bill later this month," Feinstein said in her statement. "At that time, I intend to offer an amendment to prohibit sending funds to states that haven’t adopted a statewide mask requirement."
Feinstein's amendment will of course face a Republican-controlled Senate where McConnell is still presiding over his cabal of Trump cronies and conscience-free partisans. But maybe this will give Susan Collins another chance to waffle and make vague statements about how masks are good before voting against it.