Amid surging COVID-19 cases nationwide, a growing number of Capitol Hill lawmakers have tested positive for the coronavirus in the past week.
On Sunday night, Capitol attending physician Dr. Brian Monahan implemented a new COVID-19 testing program for House lawmakers and staffers upon their return to Washington after the election. Monahan issued the program in light of rising cases across the country and D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser’s (D) order requiring people to get tested before and after they travel to the District.
The next day, Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) torched Sen. Dan Sullivan (R-AK), who wasn’t wearing a mask while presiding over the chamber, on the Senate floor as he called for the Alaska Republican senator to take mask-wearing seriously to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
As soon as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) gave the floor to Brown, the Ohio senator took aim at the maskless Sullivan, who appeared to have one person standing in front of him during Brown’s remarks.
“I’d start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks,” Brown said, before Sullivan interjected.
“I don’t wear a mask when I’m speaking, like most senators,” Sullivan said. “I don’t need your instruction.”
Brown fired back at Sullivan’s indignant comments.
“I know you don’t need my instruction, but there clearly isn’t much interest in this body in public health,” Brown told Sullivan.
Brown then pointed to President Trump’s months-long absence from the White House’s COVID-19 task force before going on to blasting Republican senators for potentially exposing their aides to the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 248,000 Americans thus far.
“We have a majority leader that calls us back here to vote on an unqualified nominee and at the same time to vote for judge after judge after judge, exposing all the people who can’t say anything, I understand, the people in front of you and the presiding officer and expose all the staff here,” Brown said.
.@SenSherrodBrown: "I'd start by asking the presiding officer to please wear a mask as he speaks…"@SenDanSullivan: "I don't wear a mask when I'm speaking, like most Senators…I don't need your instruction." pic.twitter.com/WQH04hCD53
— CSPAN (@cspan) November 17, 2020
Amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak on Capitol Hill, a video of Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) — who is the oldest senator at 87 — circulated on Tuesday showing her walking around without a mask on prior to a hearing.
Feinstein has been frequently seen walking the halls sans mask, despite being surrounded by masked aides.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), without a mask, walks through the corridor before today's Facebook/Twitter CEO hearing. pic.twitter.com/lYTVMEa3Dw
— The Recount (@therecount) November 17, 2020
Here are the Capitol Hill lawmakers who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week:
Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA)
Grassley, 87, on Tuesday afternoon announced that he tested positive for COVID-19, hours after he learned that he had been “exposed to the coronavirus” and “immediately” quarantined as he awaited his test results.
Grassley, who is the Senate pro tempore, has not missed a vote since 1993.
I’ve tested positive for coronavirus. I’ll b following my doctors’ orders/CDC guidelines & continue to quarantine. I’m feeling good + will keep up on my work for the ppl of Iowa from home. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes + prayers &look fwd to resuming my normal schedule soon
— ChuckGrassley (@ChuckGrassley) November 17, 2020
Rep. Don Young (R-AK)
Last week, Young, a 24-term congressman who recently won re-election and is the oldest member of Congress at 87, announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 amid a growing outbreak among Trump’s orbit.
I have tested positive for COVID-19. I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time. May God Bless Alaska.
— Rep. Don Young (@repdonyoung) November 12, 2020
Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI)
Walberg, who has been vehemently opposed to Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s (D) stay-at-home order, announced Monday that he tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, Walberg said that he has mild symptoms, is in good spirits and that it has been more than a week since he attended a public event.
Walberg said that he and his office are reaching out to people he contacted prior to the start of his self-isolation.
“Throughout this pandemic, the work of our health care professionals and frontline workers has been nothing short of heroic, and I continue to be grateful for their dedication,” Walberg said. “As we enter the winter months, I encourage everyone to remain vigilant and adhere to public health guidelines to combat this virus.”
Rep. Cheri Bustos (D-IL)
Bustos, who chairs the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, announced on Monday she tested positive for COVID-19 after experiencing mild symptoms.
I have tested positive for the COVID virus. I am experiencing mild symptoms, but still feel well.
I have been in contact with my medical provider and, per CDC guidance, am self-isolating.
— Rep. Cheri Bustos (@RepCheri) November 16, 2020
We must all continue to be vigilant in following public health best practices: wear a mask, practice social distancing, get your flu shot and wash your hands.
The only way we will get this pandemic under control is by working together.
— Rep. Cheri Bustos (@RepCheri) November 16, 2020
Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D-CO)
Perlmutter announced Tuesday that he tested positive for COVID-19.
In a statement, the Colorado Democrat said that he is asymptomatic and will isolate in his Washington apartment as he works remotely.
“I’ve been taking precautions like so many Coloradans over the past eight months. This serves as an important reminder that this virus is highly contagious and should be taken seriously,” Perlmutter said. “As we enter the holiday season, I encourage everyone to continue to heed the warnings of no personal gatherings, social distancing and wearing a mask.”