House Republican announces positive COVID-19 test hours after managing floor debate
Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) announced Wednesday evening that he tested positive for COVID-19 and has “mild symptoms,” just hours after he spent a considerable amount of time on the House floor managing debate for Republicans on several noncontroversial health-related bills.
Guthrie, who is the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee, said he is fully vaccinated but contracted a breakthrough case of the virus.
“Out of an abundance of caution, I took a COVID-19 test, and it came back positive today. I am glad I decided to get fully vaccinated, and I am experiencing mild symptoms. My offices in Kentucky’s Second District and D.C. will stay open to assist constituents,” Guthrie said in a statement.
A spokesperson for Guthrie didn’t immediately respond to an inquiry from The Hill on Thursday as to whether the Kentucky Republican was feeling any COVID-19 symptoms before or during the time he was managing House floor debate Wednesday afternoon.
A tweet from Guthrie’s official account announcing he had tested positive for COVID-19 was sent at 7:42 p.m. House records show that Guthrie ultimately cast floor votes by proxy Wednesday night, after managing floor debate for bills primarily related to research for treating various diseases.
Lawmakers are required to wear masks on the House floor during the COVID-19 pandemic, unless they are recognized to speak during debate. Fines enacted earlier this year begin at $500 and go up to $2,500 for subsequent offenses if lawmakers do not comply with the mask requirement while in the chamber.
Guthrie is among at least 19 members of Congress — 15 in the House and four in the Senate — who have tested positive for COVID-19 in recent months despite being vaccinated, according to a tally kept by The Hill.
Four additional House Republicans — Reps. Clay Higgins (La.), Barry Moore (Ala.), Scott Perry (Pa.) and Jim Jordan (Ohio) — have also disclosed that they tested positive for the virus in recent months, but it’s not clear if they were vaccinated.
Jordan revealed in a recent interview that he had COVID-19 over the summer and declined to disclose if he has been vaccinated.
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