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Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert

Multiple lawmakers self-quarantine after exposure to Gohmert
© Greg Nash

At least two lawmakers said Wednesday that they will self-quarantine after recently being around Rep. Louie GohmertLouis (Louie) Buller GohmertCapitol's COVID-19 spike could be bad Thanksgiving preview GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Texas), who has tested positive for COVID-19.

Rep. Kay GrangerNorvell (Kay) Kay GrangerGOP lawmaker patience runs thin with Trump tactics Bottom line GOP women's group rolls out six-figure campaign for Ernst MORE (R-Texas) said her decision to self-quarantine came after she sat next to Gohmert on a flight from their home state over the weekend.

Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.), chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee, also said he will self-quarantine after chairing a hearing that Gohmert attended on Tuesday.

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Gohmert tested positive for coronavirus while he was being screened at the White House ahead of a planned trip to Texas with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump alludes to possible 2024 run in White House remarks Trump threatens to veto defense bill over tech liability shield Tiger King's attorney believes they're close to getting pardon from Trump MORE on Wednesday.

The Texas Republican had attended multiple hearings on Capitol Hill the previous day, including the Natural Resources Committee hearing about the Park Police's handling of protesters at Lafayette Square last month and a Judiciary hearing with Attorney General William BarrBill BarrBarr breaks with Trump on claims of fraud Barr taps attorney investigating Russia probe origins as special counsel Barr says DOJ hasn't uncovered widespread voter fraud in 2020 election MORE.

Gohmert did not wear a mask while outside the Judiciary hearing room, including while he was near Barr. He also initially did not have a facial covering on inside the hearing room.

Grijalva said in a statement that he will self-quarantine until he gets tested and receives the results.

"In the meantime, my work schedule and the lives of my employees are disrupted. This stems from a selfish act by Mr. Gohmert, who is just one member of Congress," Grijalva said.

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A spokesperson for Granger said she was "seated next to Representative Gohmert on a flight from Texas Sunday evening. At the direction of the Attending Physician, and out of an abundance of caution, she is self-quarantining.”

Granger serves as the top Republican on the House Appropriations Committee. Her self-quarantine will come just as the House is slated to take up a government spending package for the next fiscal year, meaning another member of the committee will have to take her place leading floor debate for the Republicans.

The Granger spokesperson said that Rep. Tom ColeThomas (Tom) Jeffrey ColeHouse report says lawmakers could securely cast remote votes amid pandemic Next Congress expected to have record diversity Native Americans elected to Congress in record numbers this year MORE (R-Okla.), a senior member of the Appropriations panel, is likely to fill in for her.

Fellow lawmakers aren't the only ones rushing to get tested or self-quarantine as a consequence of Gohmert's actions.

A spokesperson for Barr said earlier Wednesday that the attorney general will be tested for COVID-19 after being near Gohmert.

And at least one member of the Capitol press corps, a reporter for Bloomberg News, also got tested on Wednesday after an encounter with Gohmert.

After testing positive, Gohmert returned to his office on Capitol Hill to conduct a remote interview with Texas television affiliate KETK, during which he suggested that his mask may have been to blame for the infection.

The Texas lawmaker said he “can't help but wonder if my keeping a mask on and keeping it in place, that if I might have put some germs or some of the virus onto the mask and breathed it in — I don't know.”

Public health experts say that masks are an effective way for people who have the virus but are not showing symptoms to avoid spreading it to others.

Eight other members of Congress have tested positive for COVID-19: Reps. Joe CunninghamJoseph CunninghamGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Bustos tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (D-S.C.), Ben McAdams (D-Utah), Mario Diaz-BalartMario Rafael Diaz-BalartHouse Hispanic Republicans welcome four new members GOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus MORE (R-Fla.), Neal DunnNeal Patrick DunnGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Bustos tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Fla.), Mike KellyGeorge (Mike) Joseph KellyLieutenant governor: Trump campaign would get its 'clock cleaned' if it appeals Pennsylvania ruling to Supreme Court Pennsylvania Supreme Court strikes down GOP bid to stop election certification Pennsylvania Republicans sue in last-ditch effort to stop election certification MORE (R-Pa.), Tom RiceHugh (Tom) Thompson RiceGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Bustos tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-S.C.) and Morgan GriffithHoward (Morgan) Morgan GriffithGOP Rep. Dan Newhouse tests positive for COVID-19 Colorado Democrat Ed Perlmutter tests positive for coronavirus Bustos tests positive for COVID-19 MORE (R-Va.), as well as Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulRand Paul says Fauci owes parents and students an apology over pandemic measures Grassley returns to Capitol after having coronavirus Congress set for chaotic year-end sprint MORE (R-Ky.). 

House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velázquez (D-N.Y.) also had a "presumed" case of COVID-19, but was not officially tested.

House Democrats last month began requiring masks for lawmakers while they attend committee hearings, but the policy has repeatedly encountered resistance from some GOP lawmakers. 

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry NadlerJerrold (Jerry) Lewis NadlerThis week: Congress races to wrap work for the year Top Republicans praise Trump's Flynn pardon Democratic impeachment leaders blast Trump's pardon of Flynn MORE (D-N.Y.) admonished GOP Reps. Jim JordanJames (Jim) Daniel JordanCheney, top GOP lawmakers ask Trump campaign for proof of election fraud New RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future Sunday shows preview: Biden team gears up for transition, Trump legal battles continue and pandemic rages on MORE (Ohio), Andy Biggs (Ariz.) and Mike JohnsonJames (Mike) Michael JohnsonNew RSC chairman sees 'Trumpism' as future House GOP votes to keep leaders in place This week: Clock ticks on coronavirus, government funding deals MORE (La.) for not wearing masks during the hearing with Barr. Like Gohmert, Jordan was also seen walking around outside the hearing room on Tuesday without a mask.

Updated: 4:45 p.m.