Democratic lawmakers test positive for COVID-19 ahead of SOTU

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.)
Greg Nash

Five Democratic lawmakers have announced over the course of the day Tuesday they had tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of President Biden’s first State of the Union address.

Sen. Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Reps. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), Rep. Pete Aguilar (D-Calif.), Suzan DelBene (D-Wash.) and Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) said they had tested positive for the virus in breakthrough cases.

“As I do regularly, I tested yesterday for COVID. Late last night, I received a positive test result with a breakthrough case. I’m asymptomatic and grateful to be fully vaccinated and boosted,” Padilla tweeted, noting he would be working remotely and isolating in accordance with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Raskin said he had tested positive for the virus after taking a COVID-19 test that is required for lawmakers who want to attend the State of the Union address, noting he had been fully vaccinated and received a booster shot and his symptoms were mild. He said he would be quarantining for the week and working from home, including using proxy voting as needed.

“I am disappointed not to be able to attend President Biden’s State of the Union address in person,” the Maryland Democrat said in a statement.

“But I will follow his speech closely – along with my State of the Union guest Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner – and I will be cheering for President Biden’s powerful call to the world to continue to reject in every way possible Vladimir Putin’s illegal war of aggression against the people of Ukraine. All of us must stand strong against authoritarianism and for democracy,” Raskin continued.

DelBene also said she had tested positive and that she had been fully vaccinated and boosted.

“I will be isolating & working remotely. My office remains fully operational for WA-01 constituents,” she added in a tweet.

Aguilar said in a statement issued over Twitter that he had found out earlier on Tuesday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 and he was experiencing mild symptoms. He added that he would be isolating and encouraged people to get the vaccine if they had not already.

Deutch, who announced his retirement last month, tweeted that he tested positive for COVID-19.

“Today, I tested positive for COVID-19. I am glad to be vaccinated and boosted, and although I am experiencing mild symptoms, I am still able to work on behalf of my constituents,” he said on Twitter.

The development comes several days after Capitol Physician Brian Monahan sent a letter to House lawmakers, in which he said that the masking requirement for members would be dropped, citing lower rates of people testing positive for the coronavirus.

He noted that people could still choose to wear a facial covering if they wanted to, but doing so would no longer be enforced by a mandate.

— Updated at 6:25 p.m.

Tags Alex Padilla Alex Padilla Jamie Raskin Jamie Raskin Joe Biden Pete Aguilar State of the Union Suzan DelBene Ted Deutch Vladimir Putin

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