Capitol physician doesn’t have enough coronavirus tests for all lawmakers as Senate plans return

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The capitol physician told Republican aides Thursday he does not have enough coronavirus tests for all lawmakers as senators are scheduled to return to Washington, D.C., on Monday, according to multiple media reports

The news comes after Senate aides brought up the issue of COVID-19 testing to Capitol physician Brian Monahan this week, noting that most senators are considered at-risk for contracting the coronavirus. 

Monahan told the staff that neither he, nor anybody else in the nation’s capital, has access to the 15-minute tests the White House uses. He also noted that he does not have enough resources to test asymptomatic lawmakers, and will only be testing those who show signs associated with the disease such as cough, fever, difficulty breathing, runny nose and fatigue. 

“My test result can take between two and seven business days to resolve,” he said, according to Axios. 

In a Fox News interview Thursday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) rejected calls to cancel his plan to bring senators back to Washington, claiming that they can do their jobs “safely.” The Senate Leader said he could not say if he received a green light to return from Monahan.

Previously, McConnell has expressed an urge to proceed with judicial nominations. 

House Democrats originally planned to come back next week but decided against returning after consulting with Monahan, according to Politico.

“Well look, we can modify our routines in ways that are smart and safe, but we can honor our constitutional duty to the American people and conduct our business in person,” McConnell said, according to the news outlet. 

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), who at 86 is the oldest senator, sent McConnell a letter on Wednesday urging him to cancel plans to bring the Senate back into session next week, warning that coming back to Washington “risks all of us” and “sends the wrong message to the American people.”

Sens. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) individually sent letters to McConnell asking him to publicly release guidelines on how the Senate will function while complying with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s social distancing guidelines.

Tags Chris Van Hollen Dianne Feinstein Mitch McConnell Sherrod Brown

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