Newly elected Freedom Caucus chair tests positive for COVID-19

The newly elected leader of the far-right House Freedom Caucus, Rep. Scott PerryScott Gordon PerryHouse has the power to subpoena its members — but does it have the will? Jan. 6 committee asks Ivanka Trump to sit for interview GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel MORE (R-Pa.), has tested positive for COVID-19.

Perry's office said in a statement on Tuesday that "his symptoms are quite mild" and he's working while quarantining at home. 

"This is a personal health matter and our office will not have further comment," the statement added.

A spokesperson for Perry did not immediately respond when asked by The Hill if the Pennsylvania Republican has been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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Members of the House Freedom Caucus elected Perry as the group's new chairman on Monday to replace term-limited Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), who will remain a member of its board.

While it is not clear if Perry has been vaccinated, he has previously criticized efforts to mandate COVID-19 vaccines.

"Folks, if you want the vaccine, by all means, get the vaccine. But if you don't want the vaccine, you shouldn't have to worry about being forced or fired. Not nurses, not docs, not First Responders, not our Troops. Consent, never coercion," Perry wrote in a Sept. 30 Facebook post.

At least 18 members of Congress — 14 in the House and four in the Senate — have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent months despite being fully vaccinated.

Two additional House Republicans, Reps. Clay HigginsGlen (Clay) Clay HigginsGOP attempts balancing act: Condemn Jan. 6, but not Trump New York House Democrat tests positive for COVID-19 House Republican announces positive COVID-19 test hours after managing floor debate MORE (La.) and Barry Moore (Ala.), also tested positive for the virus over the summer, but it's not clear if they were vaccinated.

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Before Perry's diagnosis was disclosed on Tuesday, the most recent lawmaker to announce they had tested positive for the virus was Rep. Glenn ThompsonGlenn (G.T.) W. ThompsonGOP election objectors rake in corporate cash Newly elected Freedom Caucus chair tests positive for COVID-19 Bipartisan bill will change checkerboard of broadband connectivity in rural America MORE (R-Pa.) in late October despite being vaccinated.

The House still has a mask requirement in effect for all lawmakers and staff, with fines starting at $500 if members do not comply while they are in the chamber.

D.C. Mayor Muriel BowserMuriel BowserMask rules spark political games and a nasty environment in the House DC adding vaccine, testing centers as region's COVID-19 death rate increases Feehery: DC will become the inverse of West Berlin MORE, meanwhile, announced Tuesday that the city will lift its indoor mask mandate for most locations starting Nov. 22. Masks will still be required in places like schools, public transit and D.C. government facilities with public-facing roles.

Since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, at least 72 House members and 11 senators overall have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a tally kept by The Hill. 

Former Rep. Ron WrightRon WrightPelosi, Schumer, McCarthy to hold moment of silence for 800K American COVID-19 deaths Newly elected Freedom Caucus chair tests positive for COVID-19 Early redistricting plans show GOP retrenching for long haul MORE (R-Texas) died in February after contracting the virus, while Rep.-elect Luke Letlow (R-La.) died in December 2020 before he could be sworn into office. His wife, Rep. Julia Letlow (R-La.), later won a special election to fill the vacancy left by his death.