GOP lawmakers consider returning to DC despite coronavirus shutdown

The House and Senate are set to return to Washington on May 4, but a group of GOP lawmakers has discussed returning to the Capitol before then despite the country being largely shutdown because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Rep. Brian Mast (R-Fla.) started to reach out to his fellow GOP lawmakers this week to gauge interest in the idea of coming back to Washington before May 4, Politico reported.

“I don’t deny there are risks as members of Congress in going there. But that’s what doing your duty is: There are risks, but you get the job done anyway,” Mast told the publication. “If you can’t say Congress is working at the urgency that our people need right now, then we need to return immediately.”

Another GOP representative told Politico that around 20 Republican lawmakers were involved in the ongoing groups texts.

When asked about the idea in an interview, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) didn’t rule it out of possibility.

“I already know about it. I talked to somebody yesterday. We were on a call with a group of people who want to be called back,” McCarthy said. “The challenge is, the speaker has some power over the Capitol, on what’s open and what’s not. So I want to make sure it’s safe, whatever we do. But I think House Republicans are ready to come back to work.”

McCarthy added that lawmakers would need to come back to Washington anyway if there was to be a vote on the latest stimulus bill aimed at extending aid for small businesses.

A different GOP representative added: “We can work in our offices. We can work in our hearing rooms and sit far apart. We can work in larger rooms,” said another GOP lawmaker. “There are a variety of things we can do.”

The Hill has reached out to McCarthy’s and Mast’s offices.

Tags Brian Mast brian mast Coronavirus Kevin McCarthy Kevin McCarthy Social distancing

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