The number of senators is dwindling in the Senate. Senator Rand Paul just received a positive test result for the virus and some senators that were near him recently are also self-quarantining per CDC guidance. Paul is “asymptomatic” meaning he has no symptoms of the virus. He was tested out of an abundance of caution because of his travels.
Republican Senators Mike Lee and Mitt Romney both from Utah, have self-quarantined as they were in close proximity to Paul recently. Sen. Romney’s office stated, “Since Senator Romney sat next to Senator Paul for extended periods in recent days and consistent with [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] guidance, the attending physician has ordered him to immediately self-quarantine and not to vote on the Senate floor.”
Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) are also self-quarantined.
Coronavirus Relief legislation fails
The loss of Republican senators is making it hard to pass any legislation in the Senate as Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell struggles to act in the face of an impending economic crisis.
McConnell announced Paul’s results on the Senate floor on Sunday, “Colleagues, as everyone now knows, the coronavirus has arrived in the Senate. There are at least five senators who are in self-quarantine at the moment.” All five of the senators in self-quarantine are Republicans, bringing the number of Republicans available to vote on legislation to 48 against the Democrat”s 47.
The Senate Democrats, led by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), after working with Republicans, decided to block the massive spending bill designed to help Americans through the coronavirus crisis.
After meeting with McConnell, Schumer, and Ranking member Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to discuss the bill, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would be drafting their own bill. McConnell was visibly angry after the vote, accusing Democrats of obstruction. Another vote is scheduled for Monday morning.
The American people expect us to act. If we fail, it will be because Senate Democrats are continuing to dither while the country expects bold, bipartisan action. pic.twitter.com/23pFHoDtCl
— Leader McConnell (@senatemajldr) March 23, 2020